by Todd Frederick
As the owner of a small major appliance repair company that thinks big, I was asked to write a post about appliances, so I thought I would start with some big ideas that may come as a surprise to some readers:
the incredible amount of brand engineering within the industry, and just how few models there really are out there.
Brand engineering is the art of assigning multiple brand names to a particular machine. Whirlpool has this down to a science, and that means that the same machine can show up in various stores under different brand names that they own, such as Whirlpool, Maytag, Jenn-Air, Kitchenaid, Admiral, Amana, and many others. And for all you Canadians, Inglis is just Canuck for Whirlpool.
Whirlpool also sells their machines under private labels. At one time, Costco sourced their Kirkland brand from Whirlpool, and even now Ikea sells many appliances that are made by that company.
All Kenmore appliances at Sears are made by other companies, and the source can easily be determined via the three-digit source code that is part of every model number (ie: 110 is Whirlpool laundry, 417 is Frigidaire).
And not only is there brand engineering, but model names change as well. I haven’t studied current names, but at one time Whirlpool’s front load washer appeared as the Whirlpool Duet, Maytag Epic, and Kenmore HE3. In other words, when the brand changes, the name of the model will change too.