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LG Forms Luxury Division Around Studio Line

LAS VEGAS – LG Electronics’ majap unit will create a new division around its Studio line of premium kitchen appliances to tap into increased demand for the category.

The manufacturer said the new LG Studio division will initially target the U.S. and Korean markets, and will help it double its distribution channels for high-end white goods.

The LG Studio platform offers premium features like induction heating and door-in-door refrigerator design, and is currently distributed in the U.S. through the designer channel and up-market majap dealers including Allstate Appliances, Conn’s and R.C. Willey.

The manufacturer also announced a multi-year agreement with acclaimed interior designer and product developer Nate Berkus to serve as LG Studio’s artistic advisor.

“With the U.S. real estate market in recovery, we are expecting to see an increase in consumer demand for upscale appliances for new homes and remodeled kitchens,” said Seong-jin Jo, president/CEO of the LG Electronics Home Appliance Co. “With the success we have achieved in the refrigerator and washing machine segments worldwide, we believe this is the right time to aggressively expand our premium kitchen appliance presence in the global market.”

Word of the new division was one of several appliance announcements at International CES, where LG also said its latest crop of refrigerators all feature its trademarked door-in-door feature.

The design, first launched on LG’s flagship French door fridge in 2010, consists of a compartment within the right-side refrigerator door that can be used to hold more frequently accessed contents like beverages and condiments. The compartment features a magnetically sealed door bin that provides easy access without having to open the entire refrigerator, thereby maintaining steadier temperatures. The compartment is accessed by pushing a button on the refrigerator door handle that releases the magnetic seal.

LG introduced three new door-in-door models last quarter that respectively offer extra capacity, double freezer drawers and dual ice makers.

“Based on customer feedback, all of our latest refrigerators are now designed with the user-friendly door-in-door feature to maximize convenience,” Seong-jin Jo said.

The manufacturer, which again held court at its massive Central Hall booth, also introduced mega-capacity front and top load laundry pairs at the show. The former included a 29-inch, 5.2-cubic-foot capacity front load washer (model WM8000HVA) that was named a CES Innovation Awards honoree for its high-efficiency washing performance. The unit also features high-speed TurboWash technology, which can save 20 minutes per load by combining the spin and rinse cycles, LG said.

Its dryer mate (model DLGX8501V) boasts 9 cubic feet of capacity and a steam-heat setting to refresh clothes and remove wrinkles.

Sister models variously feature NFC technology for uploading specialized washing cycles, and a dryer with an energy-efficient heat pump that recycles heat generated during the drying process.

The TurboWash feature also appears in LG’s mega capacity 27-inch top load pairs (models WT5680HVA and DLGX- 5681VE, and WT1701CV and DLGY1702VE). Available in respective 5.2-cubic-foot and 5-cubic-foot capacities, the machines incorporate a new horizontal damping system to accommodate more laundry than similarly-sized models, plus a dual-action door that opens horizontally or vertically for easier unloading. In addition, the 5-cubic-foot pair has front-mounted controls, making it possible to select and set wash cycles without having to reach over the machine.

LG also showcased a new smart technology platform featuring its proprietary HomeChat natural language service, which allows consumers to communicate with, control, monitor and share content with their appliances. HomeChat can be accessed via the mobile messenger app Line, which is available for all smartphone platforms and the Windows and Mac OS X operating systems.