What is the future for Viking Refrigerators?

SparklingWaterMarch 2, 2013

Viking Corp was recently purchased by Middleby. I have read downsizing by the new owners has already begun at the Greenwood, MS plant: no more 60" Viking ranges, more limited colors, layoffs, some appliance street talk discussion of refrigerator line.

The Viking refrigerator is built in its own plant, with interiors based on Whirlpool design, similar to Kitchen Aid and JennAir (Kitchen Aid high end). Volume of annual Viking refrigerator sales is less than Kitchen Aid refrigerators. As far as I know (please correct) the Viking Whirlpool based interiors (condenser, fluids, fan, lining) is not an Amana boondoggle purchase left over.

Having looked at all three with my appliance dealer, the exterior finish of the Viking is most attractive to me. Pictures of handles are below. A magnet placed on the Viking stuck; while on two different KA sizes, the 48" did not but the 36" did if that helps you. I'm buying a 36".

To me, it's not just about finish but it helps to have a remarkable finish when talking stainless. But function over form, in spite of the interior Whirlpool similarity, is winning when I think through this: KA/JA are built in volume which improves QA, but not customer service. With the take over and downsizing already having begun, one legitimately wonders about the future of Viking refrigeration and QA, servicing and customer service in spite of warranty extension.

My gut says stick with KA/JA for my CD 36" purchase. I don't like the JA Pro knobby handles, however. My current refrigerator is an old KA-never had a serious problem Any thoughts? The Liebherr 36" refrigerator is not freestanding and I need that feature. Thanks.

Viking Refrigerator, finish and handles

Kitchen Aid brushed refrigerator handle

Jenn Air Pro handle:

Here is a link that might be useful: link:

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The model you link is part of the shared platform with whirlpool and their subsidiaries.

The built in line is still part of the Amana boondoggle.

It's my opinion that the acquisition is really about a mothballed project that Viking bought a few years back for spare change and dusty knickknacks.

Watch for the TMIO Oven to make a comeback now.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 2:45PM
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Thanks for responding xedos. Very interesting perspective. I've called Viking Corporation to ask my questions, but didn't get very far.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 5:28PM
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What do you expect them to say?

"we have no idea if we will be here or sell fridges in 10 years"

You'll be fine for any parts normally needing repair over the lifetime as the other brands' will fit. Your servicer or more likely you will have to do the leg work as far as figuring out part numbers though.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 7:20PM
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Ha ha, xedos. No, I always do a dry run with any new appliance manufacturer I'm considering to check customer service out.

What is the TMIO oven?

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 8:15PM
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This pretty much cements the decision for me. Just found this.

"General Electric sues Whirlpool over price of part
Published: February 21, 2013

General Electric has filed an anti-trust lawsuit claiming it overpaid for the component because of an alleged price-fixing conspiracy involving a couple of Whirlpool subsidiaries and two European suppliers also named as defendants.

The suit is over a compressor that helps create cold air to keep refrigerated foods fresh or frozen. GE claims the conspiracy began as early as 1996 to illegally inflate the price of the key refrigerator part"... (see link).

A fellow GW member had recently purchased a new Viking refrigerator (the Pro line, I believe) and when un-boxed and plugged in, the "compressor" was out. He had a hard time dealing with Viking, but eventually they replaced the unit (under warranty).

My two cents: Middleby will ditch the Viking refrigerator line (low volume, subsidiary status risk) and as you say, parts (and related service) will be difficult to obtain. Of course, Whirlpool makes KA too, but they are not going anywhere.

There seems to be a real dearth in truly freestanding pro-line refrigerators on basis of quality exterior finish with interior components.

Here is a link that might be useful: Link:

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 9:40PM
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What is the TMIO oven?

It is a refrigerator, oven, and I-phone in one.

BTW I think the JA Pro handles are the most handsome in all appliancedom. That is what I would get. In any event I would run the other way from Viking.

Here is a link that might be useful: TMIO

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 4:26AM
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Except it didn't run with an iPhone or any other control deice because it was a closed system.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 9:22AM
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The latest version of TMIO says it is remote controlled via internet and telephone.

IPhone is a phone so......

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 11:05AM
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Thanks both. deeageaux, you know I favor your appliance insight.

What do you like so much about the JA handle so much? I do like the bright end of the handle but not the knobby middle so much. How do you see that handle working with this handle. Does this fit in with the JA? Am I TKO on handles?

My ten year old plus SxS KA SS finish is okay but doesn't dazzle. I wonder if the newer JA SS exterior finish is better? May need to go back and check. Thanks.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 11:16AM
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There is no latest version of the TMIO. It's dead, or rather still born.

And really, you think people with a smart / iPhone are going to call a telephone number and then punch in a series of keys to control their oven?

That was the same absurd thinking that lead to its downfall. Apple tried closed architecture decades ago and it nearly cost them their company.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 12:22PM
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What do you like so much about the JA handle so much?

I like the way they look.

I like the feel of the thick bar in my hand.

I like the "diamond cut" center for grip when I have wet hands. And it does not show water spot or stain after opening and closing with wet hand.


I think TMIO is completely stupid and I would never buy one but every brand needs a market differentiator.

I think you are right that Middleby will reintroduce the TMIO under the Viking brand. It will have this "smart" I-phone remote control. The fridge-oven did not work and at the prices they will be charging they will offer this.

Miele has Remote Vision and some of the up coming refrigerators will have remote control via internet as well. I think it is a trend of the future. Maybe generations younger than I will go for it.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 3:27PM
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Thanks deeageaux. I'll look again at the Jenn Air 36". Good point about the water marks on the handles, which I had not considered.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 4:06PM
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Deeeageaux - I agree that remote is the next wave, especially if you want to grow your market share.

Miele has been working on that for years and it still isn't ready for market. When it is , it will work - coming from them. The lynchpin will be does it incorp. what people actually want or will it be a version that a wonk in a ivory lab thinks everyone should have?

I recall someone having a smart fridge at the kitchen and bath show that was useful at first blush - kenmore??? Trouble is I dont think it's for sale now either.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 4:48PM
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Deeageaux, I hope you're still out there because I am really confused. In shopping for a CD FD fridge, I looked at the Bosch 800 and a freestanding Viking at the same shop. They looked virtually identical inside except Bosch has silver strips on the shelves/drawers, Viking had white strips. Went to another shop and looked at kitchenaid and jennair. These too looked like the Bosch and Viking! The difference was the handles. So my question is if you say stay away from Viking, does that mean stay away from all of these, because I think they're all made by the same company - Whirlpool! Help!

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 11:38PM
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Stay away from the Viking BUILT INS. Those are made by Viking and do not have a good reputation. The Viking freestanding are made by Whirlpool and good.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 10:12AM
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