Ominous development on the bidet seat front

herring_mavenJuly 29, 2014

INAX is one of Japan's Big Two toilet and toilet seat makers. In Japan, INAX plays the role of BMW to Toto's Mercedes: a step ahead in R&D, a hipper image, generally a bit higher priced model-for-model. It is INAX, not Toto, who has a high-end luxury showroom in Tokyo's Ginza, near the Giorgio Armani showroom and the expensive jewelry stores. INAX is part of a larger industrial conglomerate, LIXIL.

Last year, LIXIL acquired the old American brand, American Standard (which in recent years had been manufacturing its toilets in China), formerly a part of Bain Capital (associated with a candidate for U.S. president). Speculation then was that LIXIL would leverage American Standard's infrastructure to allow the INAX line to compete more effectively in North America against Toto, which had several years' head start in marketing its products on this continent.

The INAX website http://www.inax-usa.com/ points in the other direction. LIXIL apparently is courting the bottom end, rather than the top end, of the United States market. The link above redirects to http://www.americanstandard-us.com/contactus.aspx. In fact, clicking on any product link, for any INAX product on the inax-usa.com site redirects you to the same page. And if you scroll down that page to the Bathroom Products links and click on the link for Toilets, Seats, and Bidets, all of the INAX line has disappeared entirely.

It is a shame, because the INAX advanced toilet seats really are better across the product line than their Toto Washlet opposite numbers.

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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

LIXIL apparently is courting the bottom end

in more ways than one? ;^)

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 10:53AM
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herring_maven

hoovb, you restore my faith in humanity.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 12:37PM
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lee676

I think Crane is part of that group too.

Inax can still be found in the US if you look for it - Amazon shows several models. But their service/parts organization is probably not that extensive.

There's all kinds of nice plumbing fixtures, cabinetry, and appliances that are impossible to find the US. Japanese stuff at least has the advantage of usually running on 120v / 60Hz unlike European imports.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 5:12PM
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