Amana is moving into the new year with a strong emphasis on new products and stainless steel, including its first stainless-steel ranges, according to new CEO Chuck Carroll, who pointed out that "65% of our products in 2000 were not in the line in 1999."
"This is a rebirth of our company," Carroll told a press gathering in New York City. "We are making a big investment in making sure we have the products consumers want today," he said, noting that Amana is moving into high-end cooking appliances with its first stainless-steel offerings.
More stainless steel is also evident in the new refrigerator line, which includes several bottom-mount units.
The new refrigerators offer contoured as well as flat fronts in both countertop and standard-depth models; many units come in stainless steel, a gloss white, ebony or bisque
"The contour front is perfect timing," said Kevin Kacere, refrigeration director. "The focus today is on design and style, making the kitchen more of a showcase."
Amana has extended the reach of its stainless-steel offerings to smaller 18- and 21-cubic-foot models. "We have had some stainless steel," Kacere said, "but now we have a much broader line."
The company is also broadening its selection in bottom-mount styles. "This is a fast growing category," he said, referring to Amana's Easy Reach products.
New side-by-sides offer updated styling such as new contours and shapes on handles, and ice-and-water dispensers that have electronic controls.
Other new features include a light that shows when to change the water filter, new graphics, and icons indicating where to store certain foods and which shelves slide out.
Suggested retail prices on the refrigerators range from $1,199 to $1,799, Kacere said.
Amana also introduced its first six stainless-steel ranges, including 30-inch slide-in and freestanding models in both gas and electric configurations. Gas-range features include sealed burners plus a choice of cartridges including a grill, griddle or additional burners.
Electric models feature Amana's Even-Air Convection Plus ovens. Cooking director Matt Frank said the new stainless-steel ranges included four slide-ins (two downdraft and two non-downdraft) and two freestanding units, at an average retail price of $1,000.
Also new from Amana is a smoothtop downdraft cooktop, slated for delivery in the second quarter.