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Bosch, Kenmore Elite Lead Customer Satisfaction Rankings
Oct 2, 2008
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Bosch, Kenmore Elite, LG, Samsung and Whirlpool Gold rank highest in satisfying customers with major kitchen appliances in their respective segments, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2008 Kitchen Appliances Study.

The study measures customer satisfaction in five segments of kitchen appliances: dishwashers; free-standing ranges; built-in cooktops and wall ovens; freezer-on-top style refrigerators; and side-by-side and French door style refrigerators. Customer satisfaction is measured based on performance in six factors: operational performance (including how well the appliance functions, noise level and energy efficiency); operational features (such as the number of settings available and appliance capacity); ease of use; styling and feel; price; and warranty.

For a third consecutive year, Bosch ranks highest in customer satisfaction with dishwashers, performing particularly well in the areas of operational performance (which includes dishwasher noise level and energy efficiency); ease of use; and styling. Following Bosch in the rankings are Kenmore Elite and LG, respectively.

For a fourth consecutive year, Samsung ranks highest in satisfying customers with side-by-side and French door style refrigerators. Samsung performs particularly well in four of six factors: operational performance; ease of use; styling and feel; and operational features. Sub-Zero and Kenmore Elite, respectively, follow Samsung in the segment rankings.

Kenmore Elite ranks highest in customer satisfaction with freezer-on-top style refrigerators and performs particularly well in the operational performance, ease of use and operational features factors. Following Kenmore Elite in the segment rankings are Whirlpool Gold and GE Profile, respectively.

Whirlpool Gold ranks highest among free-standing range brands (defined as units containing both a range and oven that are not built into a kitchen countertop), and performs particularly well in operational performance, ease of use and warranty. LG and Kenmore Elite follow Whirlpool Gold in the rankings, respectively.

LG ranks highest in satisfying consumers with built-in cooktops and wall ovens, performing well in operational features, price and warranty. KitchenAid and Kenmore Elite follow LG in the segment rankings, respectively.

"Kitchen appliances are extremely reliable and owners can typically expect many years of solid performance with low incidences of problems from most major brands," said Dale Haines, senior director of the real estate and construction industries practice at J.D. Power and Associates. "This makes the achievements of Bosch and Samsung-which have received awards for three and four consecutive years, respectively-particularly impressive, especially in light of the fierce competition among the array of appliance manufacturers."

The study finds that, in previous years, price was one of the more important factors contributing to customer satisfaction with kitchen appliances. However, in 2008, price became less important and ease of use became more important in driving satisfaction, indicating that appliance brands that have controls and displays that are easy to use are increasingly distinguishing themselves from competitors.

"As kitchen appliance features, controls and displays become more sophisticated, it is particularly important for manufacturers to ensure that the appliances remain intuitive and simple to use, lest owners become frustrated and dissatisfied with their machines," said Haines. "The fact that price is becoming less important to consumers may reflect that owners are willing to purchase a more expensive appliance in order to obtain greater functionality and value over the life of their machines, which can span between 10 and 15 years."

The study results also say:

*Energy efficiency is a more important driver of satisfaction among dishwasher buyers than among owners of other types of kitchen appliances.

*Owners of side-by-side and French door style refrigerators are more likely to report experiencing a problem with their appliance (with 13% reporting problems), compared with owners of freezer-on-top style refrigerators (8%). In addition, more than one in four (26%) of side-by-side and French door style refrigerator owners purchased an extended warranty, compared with 17 percent of freezer-on-top style refrigerator owners.

*Approximately three in four new refrigerator and dishwasher owners report that their appliance is Energy Star certified. Approximately one-half of new free-standing range or built-in cooktop and wall oven owners say the same.

The 2008 Kitchen Appliances Study is based on responses from 14,782 consumers who purchased one or more new kitchen appliances through a retail store or their new-home builder, or received one through other means (such as a gift) during the previous 24 months. The study was fielded between June and July 2008.

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