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Washing machine firms ratcheting up prices

14-June-2005
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Washing machine firms ratcheting up prices

Washing machine manufacturers have hinted at raising prices in the Rs 500-1,500 range during the monsoon season, said sources.

The reasons for the price hike are two: for one the rise in demand for their products during the monsoon and secondly the recent increase in metal (steel, aluminium and copper) and polymer prices.

“We expect manufacturers to increase prices of their washing machines during the monsoon,” said a senior official in LG Electronics.

A senior marketing official in Godrej Boyce said, “In addition to the monsoon demand, metal and polymer prices have also gone up sharply, which have not been passed on to the consumer. The companies would either raise prices or maintain the current levels during the monsoon.”

“Samsung is planning to launch 12 new ranges of fully automatic washing machines in the front load and top load segments. Those in the front load segment will be launched at a premium to the existing price levels. Top load machines will be rolled out at the existing levels,” said Ruchika Batra, GM, corporate communications, Samsung India.

Meanwhile, AC manufacturers have started cutting prices. To begin with, LG has cut price of its 1-1.5 tonne window AC to Rs 16,900 from Rs 20,000.

“LG commands a 40 per cent market share in the AC market and is a major price player. We will have to wait and watch how other players respond,” said Nihal Shah of Mumbai-based dealer Sumaria Appliances.

However, sources attribute the LG price cut to an over supply situation, and not the monsoon alone.

Players such as Samsung and Godrej, however, on record have maintained that they would not resort to cut in their AC prices.

“We would face the gloom without resorting to any price cuts. We will be hit as 60-70 per cent of our AC sales are targeted towards house holds. However, institutional sales are expected to be steady during the season,” said Samsung’s Batra.

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