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Which Appliance Companies Manufacture Different Premium Brands?

Steve Sheinkopf  |  April 14, 2016  |  3 Min. Read

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Back when I started at Yale in 1986, there were many manufacturers who had their own brands. The exception was GE who had their Hotpoint brand. Back then, there were GE dealers and Hotpoint dealers. The difference was the style like the color of the handles and knobs.

Then GE allowed a dealer to sell both. Your immediate thought is probably: Why would anyone sell the identical product? We aren’t the smartest group and most did.

So GE now sold twice as much to the same dealer as crazy as it may seem to you. So companies like Whirlpool, Electrolux, GE, and BSH routinely use many labels to sell more products through varied distribution. You may see Whirlpool at a box store and Maytag at an independent store, but they are the same product.

Premium Brands

Then there is the premium set like Viking, Wolf, Miele, and Jenn-Air. They label to OEM's (short for Original Equipment Manufacturer) to complete their lines with speed ovens, steam ovens or even refrigeration.

For the purposes of this article, I want to focus on these brands. Otherwise, this blog will go on forever.

Let's look at a few premium labels and who really is the manufacturer.

Viking

Viking Kitchen

We don’t sell Viking and haven’t since 2013. They outsource their products quite a bit, for good reason as they cannot seem to manufacture a decent product themselves. Their new company is trying to rectify the issues, but that takes time.

Their dishwashers are now manufactured by Blomberg. Who is Blomberg? Blomberg is a label of the Turkish company Arcelik. Outside of Turkey, they were mostly known as Beko. Never heard of them? You will have after this article.

Their freestanding refrigerators are made by Electrolux, according to their analyst calls last year.

Miele

Miele Kitchen

Unusual that a company that doesn’t even outsource components for their own products would outsource whole categories. However, it makes sense to label another manufacturer, because they don't have scale or demand to open an expensive refrigerator facility.

That being said, they outsource refrigeration. In Europe, it's Liebherr. In the US, they outsource the refrigeration to Bosch. However, Bosch doesn't really make the refrigeration. It is actually produced by Arcelik. This company builds most of the integrated refrigeration (not Sub-Zero) in the U.S.

Wolf

Wolf Kitchen

Wolf, like Miele, is another family-owned company manufacturing most of its own products. Their steam ovens are manufactured by Tekka of Switzerland. The speed ovens and microwaves drawers are manufactured by Sharp like everyone else on this list except for Miele.

Their small appliances are quite good but are manufactured to their specification by Hamilton Beach. I never would associate those two companies, but it seems to work.

Thermador

You already know about microwaves and speed ovens. Thermador is part of the Bosch family and their top of the line brand is Gaggenau. They all have the same refrigerator which is all built by Arcelik. Gaggenau has the stainless steel interior and a better warranty.

Bosch is the manufacturer of both Thermador and Gaggenau dishwashers.

Jenn-Air

Jenn Air kitchen

Other than speed, steam, and microwaves, Jenn-Air products are not outsourced by Whirlpool. They are cross-branded with KitchenAid (like the GE and Hotpoint in the 1980's). Whirlpool leverage their factories like GM used to do with Olds, Chevy, Buick, and Cadillac by labeling the same product.

So their ranges, refrigerators, and dishwashers (their shallow dishwasher is manufactured by Bosch) are almost identical to KitchenAid. For example, their Obsidian, a black interior built-in refrigerator, was gray in KitchenAid.

Jenn-Air's proprietary products are now their wall ovens and professional ranges. The rest you can buy as KitchenAid with different styling.

Should You Buy an Outsourced Products

It depends. Many of these products are good like the Wolf steam oven. Much more are free or enticements to buy the whole package. The Viking and Thermador dishwashers are free with the purchase of other non-OEM products, so it makes sense.

In some cases, it does not. You are paying a huge premium for an Electrolux built refrigerator or Blomberg built dishwasher (not in a package) with a Viking label. Ditto with Jenn-Air, but sometimes the more expensive Jenn-Air can be cheaper than the KitchenAid unit.

Just be aware of who makes what, so you do not overpay.

Additional Resources

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Related Articles

WHY SHOULD YOU TRUST US?

A few review sites have placed this at the bottom of their articles. So here is our take: Our mission is to find reliable products for you to buy. Other review sites may say this as well.

However, we don’t love every product. Quite frankly, it costs us way too much money in repair costs to support less reliable brands.

In fact, we sell fewer brands than most appliance stores. Here is why:

We feel it is our responsibility to repair your appliances after you buy them.

We now have 30 service technicians, each averaging 8-10 calls a day Monday through Friday, plus another 110 on Saturday. That's over 30,000 service calls logged in one year.

The labor rates of fixing an appliance do not come close to the true cost in any product’s warranty period.

That is why no major retailer has a service department. It costs too much labor, money and time.

Our Blog is a bit different than most others you will read. We cannot write glowing reviews of unreliable products.

Hopefully, the bloggers and organizations who write such glowing product reviews for every brand consider servicing these products first. Only then they will understand the consequences of their marketing.

Steve Sheinkopf

My goal has always been simple: I want Yale to be the best retail experience anywhere. I have tried to create a compelling environment for customers and employees alike.

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