SUCCESS STORY: Whirlpool Duet

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Thanks to a feature set that includes high energy and water efficiency, large capacities, great performance, and bold, futuristic styling, front-load washers have captured consumers' hearts, minds and pocketbooks. Indeed, front loaders helped usher in a paradigm shift in the heretofore price- and commodity-driven white goods business by inducing consumers to replace their old top-load units before they broke, and to readily pay two, three or even four times more for the new configuration. Whirlpool, which leads the category with its now legendary Duet laundry pair, believes that some consumers even form emotional bonds with their front-load washers, the same way automotive aficionados become attached to their high-performance cars. Some proud owners even mail in photos of themselves with their Duets, Whirlpool said. The No. 1 best-seller, Whirlpool's dove gray on white Duet, carries a $999 price point. Like its sister models, the large-capacity unit can wash up to 16 pairs of jeans in a single load, boasts a 1,000 rpm spin speed and is loaded with options.

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