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November 27, 2013

Comments

Bill Bush

Whirlpool used to make many of the Sears Kenmore appliances. They have always been rebadged products made to Sears specs, at least as long as I have been buying them. GE/Hotpoint used to make appliances for JCPenney, particularly washers, dryers, and refrigerators.

Keith Beesley

Even Sears isn't Sears anymore--they were bought out by Kmart a few years ago.

Keith Beesley

As far as I know, Sears always contracted out the manufacture of their "house brand" products like Kenmore, Silvertone, Craftsman, et al, to various makers. I think some of the Silvertone radios were made by Zenith or Motorola (all three were based in Chicago). BTW, the "Zenith" name is now owned by LG.

I did some research a few months ago into the legacy American radio/TV brands and what became of them. Motorola, now known for cellphones and owned by Google, got started making car radios in the late 1920s. The name was a play on "Victrola," the wind-up record players originally made by the Victor Talking Machine Co. of Camden, NJ, later RCA-Victor.

Gary

On a different topic, Amazon has lots of good Black Friday Week Deals, including some for watches. Overnight they had the Casio G-Shock GW9200 Riseman watch for only $80. Today it's $187. I'd never seen it for less than around $120 before.

Angelo

Ironically, I think the perception is that LG is a premium product and Sears Kenmore is a good product---but slotted below LG in many cases. Frankly, there's probably more "swagger" these days in the LG brand than with Sears/Kenmore. And Keith mentions the K-Mart/Sears ownership. Funny thing is that K-Mart went Chapter 11 before they "bought" Sears later. How is it that a bankrupt company comes back, still sucks and can afford to buy a large retailer like Sears? For some reason, I thought Sears bought K-Mart but Keith might be right.

herculodge

The repairman made it clear that not all LG products are junk. Their TVs for example are not bad, but my fridge is to be avoided . . . Now I know. I'm keeping the "master warranty."

Bill

There has to be a strong temptation to let quality go to hell in a case like this. Consider it from LG's point of view.

First, the contract was probably competitive bid. If profits are low they can't afford to do much quality control.

Second, their primary customer is Sears. If the refrigerator is crap and needs to be fixed, well, once they're in the Sears warehouse it's not LG's problem any more, so what's their incentive to avoid problems?

Third, they're making a product for their direct competitor. What better way to make LG branded appliances look good than to make their competitors look bad?

Tom Welch

Remember , these companies arE MARKETEERS, not manufactures

Angelo

Bill: I hadn't thought of that----but on the other hand, if LG entered into the arrangement and if they want to continue to get more, they can't pass off garbage. Sometimes, I think manufacturers to things like this to keep their factories at full capacity. Since they are paying to keep the place heated and lit and have employees, might as well stay busy. Producing in larger volume also means they get better prices from their own suppliers and subs, meaning they make more profits on their own LG branded appliances too. That all goes away if they create massive headaches for Sears. Tom: Are there any exceptions to this in electronics or appliances that you're aware of----factories owned by the brand (i.e. they are not merely marketers)? I guess as marketers, they still have to be involved with the specs/design to an extent, and some quality control is better than others.

Bill Bush

I'd think anything with electronic components is essentially ordered in modules that the electronics will control, but on a low-bid basis. The low prices leave little room for profit or standard wrranty service, thus the upsell into the "extended warranty" we now get with every purchase over $5. Few companies can make motors, electrical connectors, control boards, cases and pipes or bearings for an entire product. And like publically owned buildings, low-bid electronics will inevitably have problems caused by the lack of quality as a priority worth an extra 5% or 10% in original purchase price. Blind price-seeking is not a good strategy.

Ed S.

LG, if you don't remember, was formerly "Lucky-Goldmark"--Korean made junk. Had the lowest reliability in the consumer electronics industry. Guess if you got a good one, you were "lucky."

Gary

Actually it was Lucky-Goldstar.

Korean made items have come a long way since then.

Black Lemon

That's a strategy of many companies to grow up their sales.

RobRich

LG is now actually considered a tier-one brand in some product lines.

BTW, while typing this post, I am currently listening to 75m amatuer comms on a "Sears Communications Receiver," which is a rebadged Yeasu FRG-7 with a black casing. ;)

Ken K. in NJ

One has to look no further than what happened to the former GE Superradio II, which first became the Superadio III then the RCA Superradio, each generation being (a lot) worse than the previous one.

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