The American-based Whirlpool Corporation has purchased the KitchenAid assets from longtime authorised distributor Peter McInnes and will take over the wholesaling as KitchenAid Australia. The change was effective 15 January 2015.
The new subsidiary will be run by general manager Alan Coupe, who was previously the managing director of Peter McInnes for 11 years. KitchenAid Australia will be retaining the same team that oversaw the brand at Peter McInnes, and will continue to be based out of West Wallsend, in the western suburbs of Newcastle.
KitchenAid is famous for its ‘American-style’ benchtop small appliances, known for their over-engineering, extremely solid construction and reliability. The brand started life in 1918 under the auspices of the Hobart Corporation in Ohio. After being used in the US Naval Fleet towards the end of World War I, the first domestic stand mixer was released in 1919.
It was after the Second World War, when the American middle class was flourishing, the economy booming and colours all the rage that KitchenAid reinvented the ‘white’-goods industry, launching Sunny Yellow, Island Green, Satin Chrome and Petal Pink appliances.
In 1986, the Whirlpool Corporation acquired the KitchenAid business. Although still primarily known in Australia for its benchtop appliances, KitchenAid markets major appliances like ovens, cooktops, microwaves, disposal units and rangehoods in other markets.
KitchenAid’s Australian website is currently showcasing the brand’s blenders and mixers, food choppers and processors, bake- and cookware, coffee makers, toasters and kettles. Also featured on the website it KitchenAid’s dual-branded SodaStream sparkling water maker, one of the most well-received and stylish small appliances released in a long time.
When asked about the fate of Peter McInnes’ other brands, such as American robot vacuum supplier Neato, a representative of KitchenAid Australia told me that Whirlpool Corporation has worked with most suppliers to find alternative distributors for many of their former agencies.
It is also unknown what, if any, effect this move will have on Whirlpool Corporation’s existing wholesaling agreement with Castel Electronics, distributor of Whirlpool’s eponymous major appliance range.
In addition to the KitchenAid brand, Whirlpool also owns Maytag and, as of 1 July 2015, has taken over the management of Indesit, following its acquisition in July 2014. Indesit appliances are distributed in Australia by Arisit. Simon Taylor, managing director of Arisit, last year said his company had an agreement to distribute Indesit appliances until 2019. It is unknown if Whirlpool’s move to open a KitchenAid subsidiary will have any effect on this agreement, or if it is a harbinger of things to come for Arisit and Indesit. We have placed calls to KitchenAid Australia and Arisit to find out more.