What Is In A Name?
- Created: Friday, 18 July 2003 11:07
- Last Updated: Sunday, 27 November 2016 17:49
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What Brand Are You Buying
Many people don't realise that the brand they see is not who made the machine
You may have read elsewhere on the site that many appliances are not what they seem to be, or at least what the public expect them to be. Hopefully this will shed some light on this for people and why a lot of machines you buy now are merely copies of others from the same makers.
The following is a list of known groups followed by the brand names that they own, we'll try to update this as often as we can to keep it up to date.
More often than not you will find the same appliance simply rebadged between brands with minor cosmetic differences and, in many cases a lot of the spares even crossover on groups as well so there is no guarantee that buying a particular brand will get you a unique product, in fact it probably won't!
Buying British Or...
Often in the forums people will ask how they can buy a British made appliance, or a German one, American etc and, these days all bets are off, the brand name printed on the box will not usually tell you what you are buying or from where.
You might get a label that will tell you it was made in the EU but, that doesn't mean that many if not most of the components used came from China, India or wherever else. It is important that we do point out however that country of origin isn't always the best indication of quality but equally some people view this as a decietful practice.
To give a few examples of such things that we've seen over the years that illustrate this:
- AEG, made in Italy, Poland and other places as well
- Asko, now made in Slovenia
- Belling, some GB but many Turkey and others
- Blomberg, Turkey
- Bosch side by side fridge freezers, made in Korea we believe by Daewoo
- Bosch washing machines are often from Spain or perhaps Turkey, maybe Poland
- Hoover, made in Italy
- Hotpoint, made in Italy, Poland and other places
- Grundig, Turkey
- John Lewis, Italy, Poland and others
Those are only a few examples.
The take away point here is that most often, where people think that the machines come from and where they actually do are completely different. In many cases, who even actually built the machines isn't the name on the front of the box and this before we even get into the business of own label brands.
Big Domestic Appliance Groups
Below are some of the largest groups in the industry that have grown over time to become massive on a truly epic scale.
There are reasons for this, generally it is thought that they need to be this large to get the economies of scale to achieve the low price points that people enjoy in store, in effect keeping prices artifically low to some degree.
But there is an elephant or two in the room there as it also means that buyers have less and less choice of actual products as most sold will merely be a rebadged core product with a different look. To illustrate this in 2015 market information from the USA indicated that 40% of the US market was Whirlpool, 40% was Electrolux and every one else, well they were merely "also rans".
The other effect is that new entrants to the appliance manufacturing industry are, at best, unlikely but all too probably not possible or worth the bother. There's no money in it.
Now in the UK and across Europe if not most of the world, the top five or six companies here will command the vast bulk of the market. Sales outside these vast groups are tiny by comparison. Even relatively well known companies like Miele, Gorenje, Smeg, V Zug and even LG and Samsung are all small potatoes in the domestic appliance world other than perhaps in small niche areas.
If indeed all the rest aren't endagered species that may well be swallowed up by one of the giants.
Whirlpool, Ignis, Bauknecht and Maytag third party supplier particularly integrated refrigeration products. Whirlpool bought Maytag in 2006 so expect a rationalisation of products with more component and platform sharing, it is said that Maytag is to become the "upmarket" brand out the group.
Another great illusion. Hotpoint, Creda and Cannon, all Indesit, all Italian. Once again, you are not buying British! And in 2015 the entire Indesit group of companies was aquired by Whirlpool, cementing Whirlpool's position as the world's number one.
The size and scale of Electrolux, the world's second largest producer of whitegoods just staggering!
As you can see, AEG is no longer German, Zanussi and Bendix are no longer Italian and Tricity and Parkinson Cowan are no longer British. They're all Swedish.
We wonder who will next be assimilated!
Turkish manufacturer Beko have in what is a very short period in the appliance industry, gone from being a bit of a joke to becoming one of the largest brand names in the UK and they have been forging ahead in Europe also.
With the aquisition of the Blomberg and Grundig brands they look set to increase share in the EU but it seems they've also got plans to enter the US market as well.
Blomberg is largely sold through independent retailers with a slight bump in specs and warranty but, essentially, they are rebadged Beko products. We think this is to offer the indies somethign different from the rest and to stop the big internet and box shifters from undercutting the independent retailers.
Grundig, same deal pretty much from what we can see. Higher prices, better warranty, same old Beko inside.
And yes it's called Beko we suspect as the parent companies are Arcelik and Kok Holdings. You can imagine why we know the company as Beko.
Another Turkish company, Vestel and likely a name most people in the UK will never have heard of and yet, they produce slews or products for dozens and dozens of different brands including many (if not most) of the retailer own label brands here in the UK and across Europe.
The company is huge.
Vestel supplies under the folllowing although, this will not be a complete list as the list of brands that Vestel produce machines for is a constantly moving target!
- Crosslee (White Knight)
Candy is a long standing Italian manufacturer that never really gained the traction that it perhaps should have in the UK but, it's been around for a long time and owns a number of brands.
Hoover, a great British brand name. Not now and hasn't been for a long, long time.
In fact Hoover haven't been British since the mid 80's when Maytag bought them, got into hot water over the free flights fiasco and then bailed out selling it to Candy. Almost all Hoover machines are Candy with a dress on now.
You are not buying British when buying Hoover.
Candy also picked up the Baumatic brand name when it collapsed in 2013.
Bosch Siemens Hausgerate
All the same company and also own Viva which is really Balay from what we can see, for the UK. They also own the Gaggenau and Thermador brands as well as (we think) the old Imperial brand from Germany.
And don't be fooled by some salesperson telling you that "this is really made by Bosch as, with the exception of the odd integrated dishwasher and a smattering of machines for Smeg, we've yet to see a Bosch, Neff or Siemens used on any other brand. Also bear in mind that Viva and the lower end (cheaper) Bosch is most often from the Balay plant in Spain and is not made in Germany. Look for the "Made In Germany" ticket if you want a real German appliance.
Necht, Nardi, Gorenje etc. are NOT Bosch appliances!
Glen Dimplex Home Appliances
Stoves, Belling, New World and LEC are all Glen Dimplex (GDHA) brands and the company is also a third party supplier to others.
They also buy in a lot of products from outside. For example a lot of the laundry and some cooking are Beko sourced, some Vestel and a bunch of the refrigeration product is just more rebadged Chinese stuff.
Some of the cooking products are made in Britain but, a lot isn't despite GDHA banging on about supporting UK manufacturing.
Same deal here we're afraid as all the other big groups, there's huge cross pollenation. Many of the products are the same, with a different facia or styling or they share many common components.
A lot of people go looking for Teka and Kuppersbusch which are one and the same but they buy in dishwashers and many laundry products. Recently a lot of the cheap dishwashers appear to be cheap Haier or Midea Chinese manufactured appliances, cheap and nasty in other words.
Although Teka seem to have abandoned ship so far as the UK goes.
Bait & Switch
As you can see from the above the vast majority of major brand names are owned by someone else and, more often than not, the products are not unique to a particular brand. Some are, but not many in an effort to reduce manufacturing costs.
You can perhaps see that, in an awful lot of cases, what people think they're buying, they really are not.
In a good many cases all you may well be buying is a brand name slapped onto on a rebadged machine with a different trim.
You can also hopefully understand that these "names" are worth money, if they were not then the manufacturers would not spend money on snapping up all the brands that they can. Or at least, some they do.
The problem for manufacturers is that many appliances they may not sell very many of particularly when it comes to niche and integrated product where the demand is low but it could mean the difference between getting a large contract with a builder and not for new home installations. Or for appealing to the kitchen specialist markets and not having that one niche product can cost them the entire sale of several appliances. So manufacturers cannot afford to do small volume runs therefore they simply buy the appliances in "badged". A cheap and very effective solution for the manufacturer but very misleading to the customer.
The same thing happens with the freestanding appliances that you will see in the likes of AO or Currys, for example a Zanussi washing machine is almost certainly (with the same spec.) identical internally to the equivelent AEG or Electrolux machine since they all get made in the same place, yet there can be a huge difference in price. You are paying for the name and the styling and often nothing more.
Of course the manufacturers would argue that there are differences, but when we look up the spares lo and behold, they all use the same part numbers. Now we wonder why that is? And, if they use the same functional components, how are they different from one another?
People buy whitegoods largely on the strength of the brand name and the reputation that the appliance has, of course the price does make a difference but customers con't seem to think that there is any difference between a Servis machine sold for under £200 and a Meile at over a £1000 in terms of performance and longevity. Frankly that's like trying to compare a Trabant with a Mercedes E Class! The two are worlds apart in terms of performance and in engineering and it's the engineering and the quality of the components used that determine how long the machine will last.
The whole buying machines in from other brands does however offer one glimmer of good news when it comes to spare parts.
Very often a lot of parts are used on multiple brands, some with huge differences pricing between the part from Brand A, Brand B to Brand E, F, or Z.
That can work for you as, if like us you find this out, you cross reference the item and then buy from the lowest priced supply you can save a lot of money. We mean a lot!
Some spare parts can be half the price. Which is why we tell people to ask about spare parts as, we know this and we know what we're doing, we'll do the grunt work for you and find any low price alternatives we can for you.
All The Other Domestic Appliance Brands
Of course there are many other brands out there, but at a guess the ones above will cover the vast bulk of UK and, probably, worlwide appliance sales. So please understand that the big players, along with the large retailers, weild a phenomenal power in the whitegoods industry. So much so that many other, smaller brands, simply buy "badged" products from these manufacturers to bolster their sales or position.
There are alternatives though now. With the opening of the cheap production from former Eastern Block states and also now massively from China, a lot of smaller production facilitites have become available. However, at the time of writing, some dishwashers from China are being produced for under £60 delivered into the UK yet being sold for £200+ and, frankly, they are utter rubbish that are plagued with faults. Install them incorrectly and the cabinet will actually twist, no it isn't a joke, it is sadly true.
But people want to buy names they know cheap or so retailers and manufacturers will tell you, therfore you get cheap and in the process you also get a minefield on brand names, not knowing what you're buying, from where or manufatured by whom.
Find out more from our Manufacturer Section using the link which offers far more information.
Rebranded - The Movie
We got so much hassle over talking about this topic that we decied to take the stance that, if nobody is doing anything wrong, it's all legit, above board and so on that really, nobody should have a problem with it.
Seems we may be wrong. Some still ain't happy at all that we talk openly about this subject.
So we decided that if it was ruffling that many feathers, we'd make it into a movie as well, just for kicks.
This gives you the highlights and where we're coming from but, there is a more info both in this article and throughout the website than just in this video but, you'll get the point...
Servis UK, Domar, many guises as this is Europe's largest third-party supplier of appliances.
Like Fagor below, nobody bought the business despite it being a really large business, which surprised many although the Servis brand name was picked up by Vestel.
(EDIT: Please note that Antonio Merloni ceased to trade as has Servis UK late 2008)
Fagor, Brandt, De Dietrech, Ocean, Sauter, many more as also a third-party supplier, like MFI. They have been known to buy in product from Electrolux and others as well.
De Dietrich, whilst billed as an upmarket brand is so solely on style, many components are shared across the brands in the group (as is the case with the rest on this page) and they have been buying in integrated washers from Electrolux.
But Fagor Brandt Group collapsed in 2013 and this one event confirms a lot of what we have spoken about over the years online and at conferences which is that, as nobody else bought the Fagor business that was said to be the fifth largest European producer of large kitchen appliances, the industry is in a complete mess.
Two simple things glare out from this; why did nobody buy it if it was the fifth largest and, how did it possibly fail if it was that big a business?
What about Bosch?What about microwaves. Is a Panasonic better quality than a Midea?
Is it true that Bosch make high quality German products?