The major appliance market is a very competitive environment. Frigidaire has four major competitors in the United States: Whirlpool, General Electric, Maytag and Amana. These manufacturers produce the products that would be competing with the front load washing machine. These products would include traditional top loading or vertical axis machines. In addition, Maytag and Amana has announced plans to introduce their own versions of horizontal machines, although Maytag's was not expected to be front loading. Whirlpool is also developing a new generation washing machine "that is rumored to be neither traditional vertical nor horizontal axis" and GE has just released a new, updated version of the vertical axis machine. All of these machines would also comprise the set of competitive products that would serve their target market.
For the target market that Frigidaire has identified for their front loading machines (upscale, affluent singles and couples) the set of the major determinant attributes that define this product space are: features (fashion, performance), benefits (space savings), price/quality, comparison, and proenvironment.
Information collected from a sample of customers and potential customers about perceptions of the product on the determinant attributes showed the following:
1.Features (fashion, performance) - A 1993 Market Research Focus on the front loading washer indicated consumer concerns about water leakage, cleaning performance and the difficulty of loading and unloading the washer.
2.Benefits (space savings) - A 1993 Market Research Focus on the front loading washer indicated consumer concerns about the small load capacities.
3.Comparison - A 1993 Market Research Focus on the front loading washer indicated consumer brand loyalty to current washing technologies.
4.Price/quality - A marketing study done by Frigidaire's market research department showed consumer interest in the washer decreased significantly until the price was reduced to $599 or less. Even with a pricing...