By James Wells in Melbourne

MELBOURNE: BSH Appliances will launch its first Siemens branded products into the Australian market this month after finalising the first stage of its highly restricted distribution strategy.

According to departing BSH Appliances managing director, Paul Ravlich, a single dealer has been selected in Western Australia (Designed Kitchen Appliances), Tasmania (Elite Appliances), Queensland (Status Plus – Cairns) and Victoria (E&S Trading) at this stage.

A launch of the products will be made to the media over the next two months once the products have been finalised and the first stage of the rollout has been completed.

“We’re in the roll out phase with a very narrow and structured distribution at the moment and this rollout will continue for the remainder of 2006,” Ravlich told

Ravlich expects the first distributor of the products in New South Wales and South East Queensland will be confirmed over the next few weeks once negotiations have been completed.

“The obvious choice for Siemens was premium cooking partners that can sell the range. I think that with a brand like that that needs to be sold, we are offering retailers the ability that sell it to capitalise on the benefits from selling such a strong brand,” Ravlich said.

“BSH standing for Bosch and Siemens, from a long term perspective, positions the brand at the upper end of the marketplace. Ultimately we will achieve our targets with the brand and come into it as a long term strategy, that is why our exclusive distribution strategy will be successful.

“When we launched this range we realised that if you wanted to buy any number one European brand in cars, watches, pens, suits or televisions, it is available in the Australian market – someone has the agency and someone is selling it.

“In the case of Siemens, we are clearly the number one built-in brand of kitchen appliances in Europe in value by a country mile. It does not happen very often that you launch a brand into a marketplace such as Australia that has never been here before and it holds that number one spot in Europe," Ravlich said.

“Anybody that is looking through a European kitchen appliance magazine will see Siemens appliances – they are a very high profile built in kitchen brand.”

One of the innovations from the brand that will be introduced later this year is the LiftMatic hydraulic oven with drop down floor, not door.

“As a brand, it is a very solid brand that is over 150 years old. It is over 100 years since Siemens invented the vacuum cleaner. Last year, Siemens AG as a global group had sales of $A220 billion which is higher than the market capitalisation of Australia’s largest companies."

The Siemens range of built-in cooking and built-in dishwashers will be complemeted by a side by side stainless steel refrigerator, which will be in the range shortly. Early next year, BSH will be adding laundry to the Siemens range.

“We decided not to add laundry into the range at launch as Siemens is undergoing a change of range globally and we would have brought in an old range for a short period of time. As a result we have delayed the introduction of laundry until the new range is available," Ravlich said.

Other potential Siemens product categories include coffee machines, induction and ceramic cooktops, steamers, dominos, combination microwave ovens as well as canopy and slide out rangehoods.

Cooking has been the best performing category for BSH which managed to beat its projections or the first year in Australia.

“We have had significant growth of double digit percentage points in Australia and in a market that is clearly struggling, we have grown."