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Samsung Readies First Induction Range

Samsung Electronics America will add induction technology to its cooking appliance platform this fall.

Details are sketchy, but the company said the freestanding model will be produced entirely in-house.

“It’s gorgeous,” said James Politeski, sales and marketing VP for Samsung digital appliances. “The controls are intuitive, more accessible and very cool.”

Joining the induction unit will be Samsung’s first gas-fueled ranges. Two models are also set to ship this fall, along with a $600 speed oven that features microwave and electric heating.

In laundry, Samsung has added a step between its opening price point $999 front-load washer and its $1,499 front-load steam washer. The new, Energy Star-rated WF419 (suggested retail $1,199) also features steam cycles and Samsung’s vibration-reduction technology (VRT), plus 4.3 cubic feet of capacity and a diamond-patterned drum surface that’s gentler on fabrics.

Samsung also lowered its opening price point in front-load laundry to $699 in a Lowe’s-exclusive model that could join the open line next year depending on marketplace conditions. Senior marketing manager Jeffrey Armstrong said the company is hesitant to play in the promotional arena after establishing Samsung as a premium appliance brand — a strategy that has paid off with a 100 percent increase in first-quarter laundry sales.

Nevertheless, Samsung was compelled to respond to “chaos in the middle” of the pricing spectrum, Armstrong said, as the industry’s heightened promotional activity drove some premium products into the mid-tier range and pushed some mid-market models down into the low end.

“We can’t control the marketplace, we have to participate in it,” he said. “But we also have to be in a good position when the economy comes back.”

In refrigeration, Samsung showed three French door models with dual ice makers, a feature it described as an industry first. The dual system includes an external filtered water and ice dispenser in the refrigerator and an additional ice maker in the freezer to provide twice the ice-making ability of standard units.

Politeski said the innovative engineering, attractive design, energy efficiency and exceptional value of Samsung appliances has helped the business grow six-fold over the past five years. He also attributed Samsung’s ascendancy amid marketplace rationalization to its ability to “keep listening to customers and get inside their heads.

“It’s not about following trends,” he said. “It’s about starting and leading them.”