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issue: March 2004 APPLIANCE Magazine

New Delhi Report
Fresh Launches and Strategy for Electrolux

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By Adite Chatterjee, India correspondent, APPLIANCE magazine

The U.S. $15-billion Swedish appliance giant Electrolux AB is focusing on India in a big way.

Recently, the multinational appliance maker decided to source Rs 10,000 million (approx. U.S. $221 million) worth of components for its outdoor and professional business from India.

"Our parent company has identified India as a component sourcing base for its outdoor and professional equipment business," says Rajeev Karwal, CEO and managing director, Electrolux Kelvinator Limited. "With the automobile industry and the outdoor equipment business having several common components, the company intends to tap the cost-effective Indian auto component industry."

Moreover, Electrolux in India is gearing up to become a big player in the Indian market. So far its performance in the Indian marketplace has been far from spectacular. But with Rajeev Karwal at the helm of affairs in Electrolux India - he has been credited with designing the successful branding and marketing strategies of several appliance companies in India - the company has put together an aggressive new marketing strategy to establish itself among the frontrunners in the appliance market.

The company's R&D center in Rajasthan is focusing on new product innovations. The launch of Washy-Talky machine, the first so-called talking washing machine, has garnered a lot of interest from foreign markets. Mr. Karwal believes that because it is globally competitive in terms of cost and quality, the Washy-Talky could well be on its way to foreign destinations.

Product innovations in refrigerators are too on the anvil. The company is investing in the R&D unit at its refrigerator facility in Shahjahanpur, Rajasthan. The staff at the R&D unit is being increased to focus on consumer-oriented product development. An Internet-screen equipped refrigerator is also in the works.

Future plans include increasing the number of refrigerator offerings from 15 to 24, while in the washing machine category, Electrolux plans to increase to nine product offerings by June 2004. The appliance maker also recently launched four microwave oven offerings and is gearing up to enter the air-conditioners segment with 11 models.

In addition, the company has also gone through a brand consolidation exercise whereby the Kelvinator, Allwyn, and Electrolux brands will all be sold under the umbrella brand of Electrolux. "Starting Jan. 1, 2004 all our products are being sold under the Electrolux brand even though it states that the product is manufactured by Electrolux Kelvinator," confirms Mr. Karwal.

What is the future of Electrolux in India? Mr. Karwal has had an enviable track record and is dubbed the "Turnaround Man" in the appliances sector. Can he work his magic yet again with Electrolux?


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