I think this is a good thing for GE. It's a fridge with the high-end look, but a low price.
GE Consumer Products today will launch a Louisville-made line of refrigerators targeted at customers who want the high-end look of stainless steel without paying stainless-steel prices.
Called CleanSteel, the new GE line uses a thin layer of stainless-steel look-a-like material laminated onto a traditional steel refrigerator. The refrigerators are several hundred dollars cheaper than stainless steel, but don't pick up fingerprints and will hold magnets.
The line could make Appliance Park more profitable. The refrigerators built in Building 5 now generally target the lowest end of the appliance market, but the faux stainless refrigerators are priced between the low-end and true stainless-steel products.
"The typical top-freezer refrigerator from Appliance Park sells anywhere from $399 to $599," said Jerry Rose, product general manager for refrigeration at GE. "This product, because of the technology that's been added to it, will sell for $649," he said, referring to the 18-cubic-foot model. The 25-cubic-foot side-by-side model sells for about $900.
Those prices put the CleanSteel products at about half of what GE charges for its higher-end Profile line of true stainless-steel refrigerators, which have more features. Similarly equipped stainless-steel models from Whirlpool and Frigidaire cost about $200 more than CleanSteel models.
Nice innovation. That's what it is all about – finding ways to give consumers what they want.