Cool machines face the heat

Exchange offers, new innovative product introductions, cutthroat pricing, easy financing et al, the refrigerator makers in the country are using just about every trick in the book to push their products.

Some of the strategies employed by leading white good makers in the country to push their cool machines are worth taking a look at.

Godrej has recently launched the Pentacool range of refrigerators with Pentafresh technology. The technology has an electronic cooling system that allows one to set the temperature inside the refrigerator more precisely than an electro-mechanical cooling system. Godrej has also launched a stainless steel finish in its direct cool and frost-free range. Godrej currently sells 170-litre direct-cool refrigerators for Rs5,800.

Godrej has also introduced the 'Fresh Zindagi exchange offer' for its range of refrigerators under which consumers can get upto Rs10,000 off on the MRP of a new Godrej refrigerator.

Whirlpool (India) has been constantly innovating and highlighting new USPs for its refrigerators. Starting with the 'Fast Forward ice' innovation, the company has lately brought in what it claims is the world's first single-door frost-control refrigerator with which it plans to enter the mass segment. Conventionally, direct cool fridges are single door while frost-free refrigerators have double doors.

In India, direct cool refrigerators are estimated to account for 85 per cent of the total fridge market.

According to Arvind Mendiratta, the CEO of Whirlpool (India), the company aims to cater to both the direct cool and frost-free segments. He says that though frost-free technology is superior, in India most people prefer direct cool due to frequent power shortages and eating habits. Hence the new range has been developed combining the benefits of frost-free and direct cool.

Whirlpool also introduced the 'six sense' proprietary technology, which automatically maintains the requisite temperature inside the fridge. The sixth-sense frost-control refrigerators provide the benefit of total freedom from defrosting and cleaning water puddles besides being high capacity refrigerators with additional space. The new range is available in 200 litres, 230 litres and 260 litres at an approximate price range of Rs10,600 to Rs12,750.

Whirlpool fridges, he disclosed, are priced at an approximately three per cent premium mainly because of their superior technology."But we do not want to be a niche player. We want to be in the market where volume is," adds Mendiratta.