Ahead of Scandinavia and US.

The global head of Asko’s parent company has confirmed that Australia is the largest market for the brand anywhere in the world, ahead of all individual Scandinavian markets and the USA.

In an exclusive interview with Appliance Retailer, Gorenje Group CEO and President, Franjo Bobinac (pictured below) confirmed the local subsidiary was the largest for the Asko brand globally at the launch of the new Pro Home Laundry products in Stockholm last week with over 20 Australian retailers in attendance.

“Asko Australia is by far the biggest market and has been for the last three years. It is not a coincidence that we are having this kind of success because of the strength of Asko washers, dryers and dishwashers are complemented with the key competency and strength of the Gorenje Group in the cooking category to deliver a unique offer to the market,” Bobinac said.

“The main message I would like to pass on to Australian retailers is that in our Group through Asko we are capable of design and manufacture, but we cannot sell to the end consumer without our retailers. This is why we really are great partners, and we are not competitors. I hope to be in Australia as soon as possible to see my retailer partners as I have been to Australia a couple of times before and also a couple of extra times before we made the Asko acquisition.

“I am very proud what Crt Prasnikar (pictured below) is doing as a managing director of Asko in Australia. What he did at the very beginning was very important – he changed the culture and the philosophy. He is a young and dynamic executive with experience from several different countries in Europe. He fell in love with Australia, and it is a market he wanted to grow and nurture as well as be close to Asko’s staff, its partners and the retailers.

“He has really done a great job particularly with expanding the range of appliances with our cooking products – ovens, hobs and induction and rangehoods. Lately I am hearing that the team is more competent and together with Crt we now have Owen Holbourn who has recently joined as Sales Director alongside Rob Butchatsky as National Sales Manager. I think we now have a really strong team because at the end of the day, we can create beautiful products, but it is still all about people and to have the best possible team and we have this in Australia.

Prasnikar reinforced the company’s local strategy which is not only about products, but also the people both internally and externally who touch the Asko brand.

“Within our organization in Australia, we are not following anybody. We are taking our own path, and telling the market where we want to go in order to bring value to the retailers and to the end customers – as in our business, both are equally important.

“We also have a new organizational strategy in Australia where we look at Asko as a ‘People First’ brand. When we say ‘People First’ we refer to our employees – all 130 employees that we have around Australia from the warehouse to the spare parts, everybody contributes to ‘People First’. This also means our consumers come first, by providing the best service with next day delivery including Saturdays and 48 hours fixed time in metro areas.”

Bobinac echoed Prasnikar’s comments regarding the importance of people in achieving business goals in the modern appliance industry.

“This business is still a relationship business because in a way, life is too short both in personal and business life not to work with the right people who are adding value.

“But of course you need to have product, you need to have positioning, you need to have story and the features and innovation. But let’s just say that theoretically everything is the same among competitors, you’ll always buy from people with trust and confidence.”