- Reliance would soon relaunch the Kelvinator refrigerator and other appliances such as washing machines, air conditioners and microwave ovens
- The Kelvinator brand used to do Rs 1,000 crore-plus business at its peak
- By 1923, Kelvinator had captured 80% of the US market for electric refrigerators and spread slowly into Europe and the rest of the world.
Reliance Retail, which reported a solid 27 percent increase in revenues to Rs 41,202 crore in the September quarter despite the slowdown, is preparing to relaunch the iconic Kelvinator refrigerator brand in the country,. The Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries retail arm has signed with its owner, Swedish appliance maker Electrolux, an exclusive and long-term product licensing, production, marketing and distribution contract for the consumer durables brand.
“Reliance would soon relaunch the Kelvinator refrigerator and other appliances such as washing machines, air conditioners and microwave ovens in phases under the more than 10-year deal, to be sold through its retail network and distributed to other sustainable product stores,” a knowledgeable source said.
While Reliance Retail continues to decide whether to use the “coolest” tagline that has become synonymous with Kelvinator thanks to successful ad campaigns, the brand will target the premium mass-to-mass market.
“Because Reliance has all the rights over it, it can even use it as a price fighter brand for its own stores as well as e-commerce project to compete against quality brands such as BPL, Koryo, Haier and Whirlpool, which drive sales largely through affordable pricing,” he said.
The Kelvinator brand license was previously with Videocon Industries, an agreement that snapped due to non-payment of royalty at the beginning of last year, another executive said. The organization is also in a good position to scale things up quickly.
The Kelvinator brand used to do Rs 1,000 crore-plus business at its peak, which explains Reliance Retail’s lure. It has a strong pull factor and it can be easily scale-up by Reliance,” he said. The Kelvinator array will be produced locally by third-party suppliers.
The brand was founded in the United States in 1914 as the name of one of the first household electric refrigeration systems. The name was in memory of physicist and scientist William Thomson, also known as Lord Kelvin, who invented the absolute zero theory and christened the Kelvin temperature scale.
By 1923, Kelvinator had captured 80% of the US market for electric refrigerators and spread slowly into Europe and the rest of the world. Today, Electrolux sells Kelvinator refrigerators and air conditioners in a few countries, including Australia, where they have a significant share.