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Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

Posted by kaismom (My Page) on
Sun, Jul 22, 12 at 15:57

Bosch discontinued their full sized Vision series.
Not Miele is discontinuing their full sized units.

I bought a pair of Bosch Vision for my tenants in our rental house. This is above and beyond what is done in a typical rental house but I did it any rate. My tenants have been very happy with the machine. I thought they were really good products for the price.

I have been eyeing the Miele full size machines for when my Asko dies. It looks like they are done with the full sized W/D market. If Miele does not have a full sized machine, I will replace Asko with the Miele 220V model. I need a machine that heats the water to at least 160F.

Is the price such that Miele/Bosch simply cannot compete with LG, Samsung and such? Does anyone know?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

Yes, price is an issue for the US market. I also think that US consumers, having grown up on standard TL machines, have no clue how to do laundry and no appreciation for typical European washer features like the ability to set the exact temperature and other aspects of your wash (length of time, number of rinses). They very much have the mentality of "set it and forget it" and also expect their loads to be done in 45 minutes or less (30 minutes is even better). So a European washer with a heater, profile wash, and multiple rinses is really not suited well to this market.

I know many regular posters on this forum actually appreciate these features, as I do. But my theory is that most Americans have no need for a well made machine that washes well. They want a "bling" machine loaded with features that are totally unnecessary (i.e. steam, foam maker, speedspray, etc.) that finishes a load in 30 minutes.


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

"But my theory is that most Americans have no need for a well made machine that washes well."

How insulting.


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

I had never even heard of Miele in my area although I have seen a few Bosch appliances turning up, mostly dishwashers. If you want to sell your product you've got to make it available. If I were to ask anyone I know what they thought of a Miele appliance they'd look at me and say, "What's that?"

As to why it'd be discontinued, I suppose price could be an issue. But I don't buy the theory that Americans only care about bling and not performance.


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

I think it is simple economics of scale in a new economy. Why spend money developing a specific size and feature set of W/D's that can only be sold to barely 5% of the world's population? Plus, breaking into a new market with durable goods is especially hard. It took the Japanese 30 years to be fully accepted in the auto market in the US.


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

I think price is a big issue, especially during this tight economy. The mfr has to sell 'x' number of units to recoup the cost of R&D and the tool & die or whatever it is they do for a new model. If larger units aren't selling for the high ticket price, it makes good business sense to discontinue. Not everyone can afford to buy a Miele and/or it is not how they choose to spend their money.
Not many people live where they can even buy one, much less get service techs. I like my Miele, but a lot of people are very happy with their other brand machines that cost half as much.


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

I 100% agree is izeve!! Sadly, the vast majority of Americans have a 'Walmart" mentality...Big & Cheap. Instead of spending maybe an extra $500 or so for a well, made highly durable machine, a cheaper one is bought and replaced in 3-5 years (or less). For most things, not all, but the more you spend, the better the quality & durability!!!


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

Why spend money developing a specific size and feature set of W/D's that can only be sold to barely 5% of the world's population?

Because in dollar terms North America represents about 25% of demand. Canada has almost exact size and feature demand as USA.

In the categories Miele and Bosch compete, not selling $200 washers to Chinese and Indians, the North American market is closer to 40% of global demand in dollar terms.

That is why they entered the market. They just can't compete on price against Whirlpool,LG,and Samsung. And GE is making major investments for the future.


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

Well, as far as bling-bling goes, I can attest that most (like 99%) of washers on our market are just white boxes that might beep when the cycle is done. Look at your market: many colors to choose from and, heck, I recently saw a Samsung dryer hat played and entire song when it was done. So, I guess bling (and features) does at least play some role.

What might also play a role is that Miele is currently shifting production all across Europe it seems. This is extracted - but not quoted - from an article from 2009 that came up recently. It basically said that the entire washer production now goes back to Germany while dryers go to the Czech Republic. Little Giants are also supposed to move from Unicov to Germany. The article also said that the Large Capacity production was planned to be moved to somewhere else - yet it wasn't clear to where Miele would move it (in 2009).

All this might also have been a reason why Miele decided to end the sale (production) of the large washers. FWIW, Whirlpool closed the Duet factory in Germany in January 2012.

Alex


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

I think it is a price issue in the sense that most people want a deal and they don't want to do maintenence. If a repair is needed they would rather replace it. I don't agree with that but I am in the minority.

Being built to last doesn't mean being built to run flawlessly without maintenance. I read my manuals and maintain my appliances so it is absolutely worth it for me to spend more and get the best. Looking at it long term, $ per year, there isn't much difference.

The wash times are Definately a turn off to some. My Asko will take 3 hours to run a 205 cycle with all the bells and whistles. It is absolutely worth it to me. Compared by cycle to my old LG there isn't much difference. My LG only got to 120 and the cycle was equivalent to a quick wash on my Asko. So, same cycle time for equal wash.


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

There are many , many people that simply don't have the luxury of spending $500 more for a miele or an asko .


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

Isn't it truthfully more along the lines of $1000 more? Most people buy washers in the median range of $700.


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

It may be more along the line of $1000, too expensive for the average American.


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

Miele makes absolutely no effort to market their machines in the US. They are known primarily by word of mouth and through internet research. Their US web site could have been created by a 12 year-old. Actually a 12-year old would have done a much better job.

It's my impression that Miele USA is not empowered to do anything by their German overlords, therefore the US market is definitely suffering.


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

Slimming down a model line up is one way manufacturers (of anything) cut down on costs. Creation of big washers by European manufacturers has been a relatively-new phenomenon. When I bought an Asko washer 7.5 years ago there were no big Mieles or Askos, just the smaller Euro-sized ones. IIRC, the large Askos were rebadged LGs or Samsungs anyways. With the appearance of LG and Samsung washers in the markets the European companies are going back to their roots - small washers and dryers.

Overall, I like the smaller models. I also prefer to repair rather than replace, when possible. But I'm dealing with a situation where two consecutive repairs on my washer will possibly total $1000+ when finished. New washers can be found for that type of money.


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

Asko full-size made by Daewoo.

Panasonic is coming to the US Laundry Market and they already have a 5.0 cu ft washer made by Panasonic Taiwan.

In the future if I had to choose between mini-euro,same o'l Whirlpool mediocricty, the Koreans,and these new Panasonics I think I lean Panasonic unless they are proven to be %$#!.IMO Taiwan has entered into devoled economy/first world status. Or maybe new made in USA GE.

GDP per Capita US $ Purchasing Power Parity

Taiwan $38k
S.Korea $31k
New Zealand $28k


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

Let's face it, a lot of high end kitchen appliances are snob appeal. Buyers "expect" Subzero this, Wolfe that.

I don't think that snob appeal ever made it to the laundry room. If it had, Miele might have done OK.


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

@knot2fast, unfortunately the sarcasm does not translate well on the internet. I do believe, however, that an average American consumer really doesn't care how well built or well performing their washer is. Based on a lot of research I have done over the years, the important features for an average consumer in the US are (in that order): length of cycle, exterior color of the machine, perception of not being prone to mold or smell issues. Other than that, an average person doing laundry will take any machine, select "normal" cycle, ignore all available options and settings and expect their laundry to be clean....
I wish it was different. It makes selecting a new washer and reading through countless uninformative and childish manuals and reviews really hard work. I am moving soon and have to give up my well performing LG FL, so I am in the market for a new washer. The selection process has me completely stumped. If Bosch was still in the market I would definitely go with that (I don't want to spend a ton of money on a Miele since I don't know how long I will get to keep it). Most information,reviews and manuals I have looked at are truly lacking in content and information. They tout useless features like steam, speed spray, specialized cycles (jeans, sports wear...) etc. but completely ignore useful information like actual water temps, which cycles engage the heater, length of cycle, washing patterns, etc.


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

I know many regular posters on this forum actually appreciate these features, as I do. But my theory is that most Americans have no need for a well made machine that washes well. They want a "bling" machine loaded with features that are totally unnecessary (i.e. steam, foam maker, speedspray, etc.) that finishes a load in 30 minutes.

No, this didn't come across as sarcasm, and I really don't think this is true either, based on posts from Americans who post here, as well as Americans I know IRL. It is certainly not true for me -- I wasn't looking for steam, foam maker, or speedspray.

As a pp noted, Miele doesn't promote itself much in America, and, yes, its products are unobtainably expensive for many people, not only Americans.

My Maytag Bravos washer is a well-built washer that cleans very well. I could not ask for more. It's not a "snob's" washer, but it does the job, far better than any other washer I've ever owned.


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

@Izeve, while I will definitely agree about the manual for washers, I can't agree about the rest. My experience has been consumers are interested in durability and reliability and performance. So many are attracted to the speedspray, foam, etc because they believe the hype that it helps the machine clean or dry better. So it's not that they're uncaring but rather perhaps too gullible. My concerns were internal heater, cleans well, appropriate cycles for the different needs and I use most of the features on a regular basis. Length of the cycle didn't even make it on my 'list'. I like that my washer has long cycles but I'm also glad that if I do have a very lightly soiled garment that needs a quick wash, it's there. I've used it once so far.

These manuals they're using are lacking in actual 'how to' use. The first 24 hours I thought my machine was failing right out the door but reason told me it was almost surely a user issue. I went digging on the internet and it took some looking before I discovered that weight and size of loads really dictate spin speed. Samsung's website doesn't even really spell it out well. I had it mostly figured out but eventually I found a tutorial on youtube. While I was searching I came across a few people saying the washer was terrible because of the spin issues. They even returned/tried a new one thinking it was a broken machine only to have the 2nd, 3rd have the same issue so then they decide the washer is just a terrible washer. Repair people, salespeople, so many in the chain have no idea that a simple 'heavy, small loads need slow spin setting'. It's crazy. These manuals need to improve considerably.


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

whirlpool_trainee: "... heck, I recently saw a Samsung dryer hat played and entire song when it was done."

"Song"? Well it was originally a lied, Die Forelle, written by Franz Schubert, but the lied generally has gathered dust on the shelf, because Schubert included the theme, with variations, into the fourth movement of his Piano Quintet in A major (popularly called the Trout Quintet), which became a standard of the chamber music canon worldwide.

Here is a link that might be useful: Snippet (mp3) of fourth movement of Trout Quintet


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

My concerns were internal heater, cleans well, appropriate cycles for the different needs and I use most of the features on a regular basis. Length of the cycle didn't even make it on my 'list'. I like that my washer has long cycles but I'm also glad that if I do have a very lightly soiled garment that needs a quick wash, it's there.

This nails it for me too.

My washer manual is very well-written. This is my first HE washer, and I read it twice before I ever used it, to educate myself on using it properly. I haven't had any problem with it at all.


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

On average, Americans wear clothes that are just as clean as Europeans. There is no evidence to the contrary. Americans sleep on clean sheets and have clean towels, just as Europeans do.

Historically there have been two general approaches to clean laundry. The American approach used plenty of water (externally heated), vigorous agitation, and relatively short cycle times. The European approach used much, much less water (often internally heated), tumbling agitation, and longer cycle times. Both methods produce clean laundry for the vast majority of their users. American government regulations have generally been pushing American consumers toward the European approach to conserve water and energy.

Americans, by and large, had been accustomed to short cycle times. It wasn't uncommon to run four loads of laundry on a Sunday afternoon and be done before dinner. Part of the demand for larger capacity European style (front loading) washers was to compensate for the increased cycle time. A 2-hour wash cycle wasn't as painful if it held twice as many clothes. Of course, large capacity brings along many other difficult problems to solve.

If there was an internal heater, the larger capacity drum required even more time to heat. The American standard of 110v outlet for the washing machine didn't help heating matters. A 220v outlet could deliver twice the amperage, but Americans have been slow to add another 220v circuit to their laundry rooms. Americans with natural gas water heaters were also reluctant to spend the additional dollars on electrical resistance heat, especially at the high amperage available for 220v and seemingly giving up the promise of reduced energy usage.

A large capacity drum usually has a larger diameter and holds a greater weight of contents. That's a double whammy when trying to spin that larger drum at the European style high RPM. The centrifugal forces add up quickly, making balance and vibration difficult to control. Americans have been moving their laundry facilities out of the basement (concrete floors) to the first and second floors of their homes (suspended wood floors) for the last 20 years or more. Spin vibration has been one of the biggest complaints against high capacity front loading machines.

Meile, Bosch, Asko, and other European manufacturers had a built-in advantage in knowledge and experience making European style front loading washing machines. Because of the peculiarities of the American market, they lost a bit of that advantage. The standard small-capacity, 220v European washer they were so good at making wasn't fitting the market in the US. They had to adapt their products and by doing so, they lost some of their experience advantage. They also manufactured premium quality appliances at premium quality prices. The economic downturn in the US affected the affordability and desirability of premium appliances. Of course, some people will still pay for the perceived quality, but the overall pot of people able or willing has reduced.

It's hard out there for a premium quality appliance maker.


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

I don't think "snob appeal" has any value when one buys a more expensive European washer. Not one of my friends has ever heard of Miele washers. I bought Miele because I hope it will last a long time thanks to German engineering and hopefully quality construction. The thing is a tank. I call it "The Beast."


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

"... heck, I recently saw a Samsung dryer hat played and entire song when it was done."

"Song"? Well it was originally a lied, Die Forelle, written by Franz Schubert, but the lied generally has gathered dust on the shelf, because Schubert included the theme, with variations, into the fourth movement of his Piano Quintet in A major (popularly called the Trout Quintet), which became a standard of the chamber music canon worldwide.

Drat, I bought the wrong washer, lol. I still remember singing The Trout as a duet with a friend of mine when we were in high school.


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

The economic downturn in the US affected the affordability and desirability of premium appliances. Of course, some people will still pay for the perceived quality, but the overall pot of people able or willing has reduced.

Your entire post was excellent, knot2fast; a great summary of the whole picture IMHO. I had meant to mention this part of the picture earlier, but was in the midst of a very busy day and didn't have the time then. Thanks for posting.


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

Let's face it, a lot of high end kitchen appliances are snob appeal. Buyers "expect" Subzero this, Wolfe that.

Did Tom Wolfe start an appliance company?

There is some snob appeal to a Sub-Zero grill and Wolf range/rangetop red knobs but not much beyond that.

There are lots of high quality appliances at a premium price beyond that. I don't know how much a role "perceived value" plays for buyers on this and similar forums that research ad nauseum before making a purchase but I will pay for actual value. And so do many people that read these forums.


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

knot2fast, I know you were somewhat offended by my posts before. I really like your summary and I think you make a lot of valid points. A couple of items I would like to point out.

I beg to differ with you - I think European laundry is generally cleaner than American laundry. Sorry to differ on this point but I have some (very unscientific) evidence. I grew up in Europe and moved to the US when I was in my early twenties. My family still lives in Europe. My mom has towels, sheets, kitchen towels, etc. that are 20+ years old and are soft and worn out from repeated washes but they are clean and fresh - no stains, no discoloration, no musty smells. You can open her linen closet and smell nothing. She washes them on boil wash in her small 240V washer (90 or 95C wash cycle).

My towels, bed linens, kitchen towels and napkins all suffered from bad smells, yellowing, stains, etc. when washed at Warm or Hot in a typical American washer (TL or FL). When I got my latest washer (an LG FL with an internal heater) and finally started using the Sanitary cycle on all my towels, linens, napkins, etc., my closets lost that stale, musty smell and my white towels and sheets are bright and clean.

Yet, when I visited a friend of mine in NJ some time ago, I was helping in the kitchen and noticed her kitchen towels looking clean but being very smelly. I asked her about it (knowing that she has a good LG washer with a heater) and she said it takes too long to wash them on Extra Hot....

There are also a lot of one time posters on this site who happen upon it in their google searches and who complain about their laundry and look for machines that get all of their stuff clean in 30 minutes. A 30 minute wash may be great for a silk blouse that I wore for one day and needs freshening, but there is no way that you will get you kitchen towels clean in 30 minutes unless you soak them in chlorine bleach.

The posters on this site, especially the regulars, appreciate the European way of doing laundry and washers that have internal heaters. But most American consumers don't appreciate the benefits of heated washes and long cycles. I stopped at Home Depot the other day since I will have to find a new washer soon. And when I told the sales guy I would only consider a washer with an internal heater he looked at me like I was from another planet and asked what I was washing that would require such hot temperatures and said that if I set my water heater at the right temp (he mentioned 170F - huh???), I didn't need a internal heater to wash well. Seriously????!!! It seems all about useless features and electronics, colors and flashing lights and end of cycle tunes. Truly clean laundry doesn't really matter. Again, this is a cynical me voicing my personal opinion and I do understand that you may disagree with it. Peace :-)


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

@izeve - I think most water heaters would burn out rather quickly if set at 170F, but Home Depot also sells those, too....

I have no doubt the HD salesman meant well, but he may have been fairly new, after losing his job at a sub-prime mortgage company and rather clueless about major appliances. Seriously, most people are clueless. I only know what I know from actually watching repair guys when they come to our house, talking to them, and asking questions. It also helps that I am a research nerd (most people are not) ~and~ have the time to indulge that trait (most people don't).


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

knot2fast, I disagree with your assessment about American versus European washers.

I was using American type of washers for many many years. Then as a fluke, I bought an Asko 220V washer that washes clothes up to 205F (95C). I wanted to wash my kid's diapers at home (my mother did not trust diaper services... that's another story), and I had the money to be able to afford the washer that cost 2x as much at 1/2 the size as a typical American washer AND my DH said we have to buy a machine that was most energy efficient. Thus we ended up with an Asko. I wanted to wash the diapers because of the principle of not using the disposable diapers. ;) (A bleeding heart liberal with a generous income. Go figure.)

It turns out it cleans clothes SO MUCH BETTER than anything I had ever had that I will never go back to using a typical American washer ever. The first month I owned the machine, I thought that it was a miracle washer that got all my things sparkling white and smell fresh. (not scented over with detergent.) Most Americans think that the scent of the detergent is what constitutes clean wash. That scent means that the detergent did not rinse out well from the wash! I react to detergent residue by breaking out in hives, so I know!

I start my wash before I go to bed. So the wash cycle length is not an issues. When I washed diapers in the Asko, the diapers were white white white without any chlorine bleach.

I have never used a typical American washer that even came close to getting clothes clean like my little Euro washer. My washer rinses clothese 5 times and I can have it set to rinse 7 time. When I travel and wash clothes at condos I am renting, I have to rewash everything when I get back. There is so much detergent residue that is left behind, I can actually feel the residue on my fingers.

I started this thread because I will never go back to a typical American washer. The extra cost is SO SO worth it to me. Unfortunately, I have to stick to the small washer size. I can't have the large Euro profile washer in bigger capacity now that the manufacturers (Miele Bosch etc) are not making them.

At this point, I am not sure if I trust the sanitary cycles on LGs and Samsungs etc. I know I like my little Asko and the little Mieles that I use when I visit my DH's relatives in Germany....

My Asko is still running strong. I bought it year 2000. I will keep it limping along a few more years. When it dies, maybe Miele will make a larger machine again. I can only hope. Maybe my kids will have moved out of the house by then, I will not need a larger machine.

I am raising 2 sons with a small Asko and I have managed just fine. At times, it would have been nice to have a larger machine but I have managed to work around it just fine. I routinely wash things at 140F to 180F every week. My kids are long past diapers so I have not done 205F cycle in a while.

Thanks everyone for this lively conversation.


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

" Most Americans think that the scent of the detergent is what constitutes clean wash. That scent means that the detergent did not rinse out well from the wash! I react to detergent residue by breaking out in hives, so I know! "

IMO, Europeans also think the perfume of detergent and fabric softeners are indicators of "clean." There is not a Persil product available that is free of perfume and scent.

It may be a human nature thing to believe that perfume = clean and that manufacturers know that.

I am in the same boat with you on all other points. With unscented products, we KNOW if the clothes are clean. When they're not, they smell gamey.


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

Let's face it, a lot of high end kitchen appliances are snob appeal. Buyers "expect" Subzero this, Wolfe that.

I don't think that snob appeal ever made it to the laundry room. If it had, Miele might have done OK.

Someone is certainly painting with a broad brush. Saying that high-end kitchen appliances are "snob appeal" is just as insulting as saying that Americans don't appreciate quality.

I did not buy a Miele washer because it makes me feel like a "snob". I bought it because I felt it had a higher quality construction and better components than its competitors. Yes, it costs more, and that is a decision that I had to make. Cheaper and lower quality, or higher price and higher quality. My personal philosophy is that I don't mind paying more for a product of great quality. I choose to reward companies for making great products, and if they last longer then the environment benefits as well.

Please try not to generalize as much as you do, it's insulting and just broadcasts your own shortcomings.


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

I just returned from a visit back home where the family still had old school top loaders. Good Golly, Miss Molly (!), it was amazing how large the capacity is compared to my 220 V Miele. The wash time was so fast, too. However, when moving clothes from washer to dryer, I was struck by how heavy the wet clothes were compared to my units at home. Drying time was much longer as a result.

If you want to wash HUGE loads quickly, I can see the appeal. However, now that I am used to it and sort my clothing appropriately, I much prefer my W/D at home. I feel that my clothes are cleaner in looks, feel and scent. I use low/no scent detergent and FS on most of my laundry.

YMMV


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

Another probability is "why even high priced appliance".

I've read that, before the "crash", Americans move about every 3 years; so, a washer that last 20 yrs only if they take it with them.

In the tv series, "House Hunters", the washer/dryer is usually/mostly with the houses being viewed. It may be that the Americans now relocate every 5 yrs.

And how about those "starter homes"? How long do/did people stay in those houses prior to "upgrading"? It is like the automobiles; prior to the leasing phenom, people used to trade-in their cars every 3 yrs or so; then it went up to 5 yrs.

No idea how many people take their washer/dryer with them when they go to a new house or apartment.


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

I have moved 5 times and each home sold commanded a premium price due to my "snob appeal" appliances among other snob choices like top of the line trim, etc. It is just a matter of how you look at things.

I currently have 2 Asko sets. One is 12 years old, the other 3. My cycle times are longer but my results are flawless. After 5 rinses my clothes are unscented no matter which detergent I use. Perhaps Persil is so strongly scented so some remains. Basically, if you can smell your detergent after washing it hasn't been rinsed out and neither has the grime. Residue is residue be it fragrance or dirt.


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

All I know at the end of the day is that my Samsung actually has 'hot' water when I select it, my clothes are so much cleaner than my old top loader nightmare, and to my disappointment, I *can't* smell any of the detergent when I pull it out of the dryer. I like persil's smell! I had a friend bring some back with her from London and it's fantastic. But when I fold it out of the dryer there's no scent. My cycles are long, most range between an hour and a half to two, though if I've got a single shirt to wash that's been worn once, I love the quickwash option. It's not a Miele...I never had heard of that brand before I came here [and after we'd already bought our Samsung] but I'm very pleased with my washer. Honestly, another $1000 was not in our budget so it's a moot point. Now that I know about these machines though I might keep my eye on them for next time because as much as I do like my samsung I realize it's not likely to last beyond 5-6 yrs.


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

kodiakbear, long cycles sound good to me. What model Samsung washer, and when did you get it?


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

It's the WF331ANR and we bought it about a month ago. It replaced my demon Kenmore Oasis Elite. The long times are easily programmed, just need to select the right buttons. I know it won't be as reliable as a Miele but we bought the 4 yr warranty this go around. I've been very impressed with it. I told my husband it's safe for us to throw the other washer out. I'd had him keep it just in case I was unhappy with the samsung and we needed to return it. If I get even two years without a repair needed it'll be wonderful. My Oasis HE has broken *every* year since we'd bought it in 2006.

Anyway, I've been putting it through its paces. Large family and lots of laundry, and many different needs.


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

sshrivastava says "Someone is certainly painting with a broad brush. Saying that high-end kitchen appliances are "snob appeal" is just as insulting as saying that Americans don't appreciate quality."

You've totally missed my point. Nobody who reads this message board would be buying a Miele for snob appeal.

My point was that even people who only cook frozen pizza were modeling their kitchens with Subzero and Wolf because contractors were telling them it was the "expectation" that those appliance names be found in the kitchen. Get it?


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

curiousshopper says:
My point was that even people who only cook frozen pizza were modeling their kitchens with Subzero and Wolf because contractors were telling them it was the "expectation" that those appliance names be found in the kitchen. Get it?
No, I don't get it. This scenario seems to be something you invented in your mind, rather than reflective of reality. I am a full-time real estate agent and have worked with new construction for years. My family has had several custom homes built. Never, not one time, did I in my years of experience or anyone in my family after building several custom homes ever have a contractor push Subzero, Wolf or other high-end appliances.

Of course if you are building a 5,000 sf house, from a resale standpoint it would be absolutely suicidal to skimp on appliances - your cooking skills aside. No homeowner in their right mind would build a high-end home and then install low-end appliances. The cost of appliances, once factored into the overall cost of a home, is a small fraction of the total cost. This is not even worth debating, as the point you raised does not even exist.


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And by the way...

... in my previous post I was using a 5,000 sf home as an example because it makes the point, however it's not unusual to see Subzero, Wolf, Miele and similar high-end appliances in 1,000 sf town homes because that is what was expected for the type of construction, the area, and the price of the property.

My parents' built a custom home in Gig Harbor, WA. Their builder recommended basic GE Profile stainless appliances for the cooktop and double ovens. Not knowing much about this, they went with it, but my parents are kicking themselves to this day for not spending a little bit more for a higher-end brand like Wolf. If they had gone with the higher-end appliances, the cost would have been only a little bit more when you take into account the final home price of $800,000. Is 3% of something a big chunk? Certainly not. My parents could have spent $24,000 on appliances and still have it be a tiny, tiny piece of the whole pie.

I remember an old saying... penny wise but pound foolish?


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

I think you're just argumentative.

My point is, to use your own words, is that

"it's not unusual to see Subzero, Wolf, Miele and similar high-end appliances in 1,000 sf town homes because that is what was expected for the type of construction, the area, and the price of the property."

and that expectation never made it the laundry room? Get it now?


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

I don't usually post a lot on here,although I have learned a lot from all of you people and greatly appreciate it. Ihave a bosch 500 plus and it has pilled my clothes like my old kenmore tl never did. and for what it worth, i for one am not one for bling, although, it took a while to get used to the longer cycles. I want a good quality washer that won't ruin my clothes and that will last more than five yrs.I don't think that is an unreasonable request. I don't think that we Americans are the mindless, dense people some of you are trying to imply.
Cost is also a big factor,and a lot of people can't afford to plop down three or four K for a washer plus the cost of a dryer.
I'm sorry if I offended anybody, just MHO.


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

To answer the original question, it's simple - money. Any company enters or leaves a market because of money.

I just talked with a friend who lived in Europe for a number of years. Her take was that, with the exception of whites, European washing machines did no better or worse than an American washing machines.

As for high end appliances and high end homes, it's entirely about snob appeal. Very few people need 5,000 sq ft of living space and I'd suspect that few families that actually needed that much space could afford it. A huge house is entirely self indulgent - look it me, look at what I can afford, look how successful I am! Likewise for the appliances.

Now if one is a fool for not to "investing" in high end appliances in a high end home because they only represent a fraction home's total value, then a buyer should be saying the same thing. It it only costs $24,000 to replace the pedestrian appliances, why would a prospective buyer of a $800,000 home even think twice about it?


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

mike_kaiser said:
A huge house is entirely self indulgent - look it me, look at what I can afford, look how successful I am! Likewise for the appliances.
Well thank goodness you have made this pronouncement, as many thousands of people throughout the country have been waiting with baited breath before buying their new homes. Now, with your help, they have all changed their minds because they realized how "self indulgent" they were and thank you for illuminating their inner psyche.

Are you kidding me with this nonsense? Every Indian family which bought a 4,000+ sf house from me is snobby and "self indulgent" because they need a large home to house a multi-generational family? You see, there are other cultures out there who have different needs than you. Your above post makes it quite clear that for you it's just about bragging rights, and if that's the case, perhaps that says more about your own sense of inferiority than it does anything else.

curiousshopper said

I think you're just argumentative.... and that expectation never made it the laundry room? Get it now?
Call me what you want, but you're not the only person in here with an opinion. In fact, your opinions are judgmental and negative. You come in here and label everyone who appreciates high quality and excellent design a "snob". You say that everyone who buys Subzero, Wolf, Miele, etc. are buying into "snob appeal" simply because they want something better. The laundry room is no exception, and why should it be? If I demand excellence in my appliances, I would demand that everywhere in my home.

If you think that the only reason people buy high-end appliances is to show off and feel superior to others, I suggest that feeling stems from your own sense of inferiority for whatever reason. Don't bash the choices of others simply because they chose to purchase products that you can't afford or have decided are not appropriate for your household.


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

Seriously, multi-generational Indian families are the best example you can come up with to illustrate the need for large homes and high end appliances? Without wasting my time looking up the statistics, I think it would be a safe bet that for every multi-generational Indian family buying large homes we could find a 100 single-generational "American" families buying large homes for mom, dad, and their 2.2 kids.

As for my insecurity, you're way off the mark. I could care less about what kind of home you or anyone chooses to live in or what kind of appliances you choose to buy. Just be honest about why you want the home and appliances.


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

I used that example, Mike, because it's an example with which I have experience. The point of the example was to show a small-minded person like you that there are other people out there in the world with different needs and considerations than you. I don't believe I ever stated that my example was the "best" example, I didn't realize my skills at citing examples was in question when you are the one who came in here with your sweeping proclamations that everyone who buys high-end is a snob. You're simply trying to shift the focus from the fact that you have nothing to contribute to this conversation other than unsubstantiated opinions which read like proclamations

Unlike you, I don't quote vague generalities and then color them with my own perceptions, I share examples with which I have real experience. I buy high end appliances because I own a higher end home, want better resale value, and appreciate high quality and better design. I don't feel that this classifies me as a "snob" simply for appreciating those things and paying special attention to resale (that is my area of expertise, after all).

Wikipedia: "A snob believes that some people are inherently inferior to him or her for any one of a variety of reasons". You think people who buy high-end appliances are buying into "snob appeal", or in other words, want to be associated with a feeling of being superior to others? You must think people have very shallow personalities if they accomplish feelings of superiority through appliance purchases. Maybe that's something you would do? I find that people who judge and criticize certain behaviors or traits in others are actually judging and criticizing traits about themselves which they dislike, and which they have projected onto others.


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

Lots of generalizations have been floating around here.

Mike, I too have seen the HH shows where a husband and wife, with one kiddo think they need 5000 sq ft. Ditto granite countertops, s/s appliances, etc, etc, etc. They don't seem to distinguish between needs and wants.

Someone said:

My towels, bed linens, kitchen towels and napkins all suffered from bad smells, yellowing, stains, etc. when washed at Warm or Hot in a typical American washer (TL or FL).

I owned a number of washers in the past (all TL's) and never once had this problem.

It was only when I needed a new washer a few years ago that I learned an internal water heater is a necessity now if one wants to have true hot water, as so many washers on the market have ATC and mix cold water with the 'hot' water as written on the display panel.

Length of wash cycles has never been an issue for me -- only getting the laundry clean without damaging it.

This same poster opined that "...most American consumers don't appreciate the benefits of heated washes and long cycles."

I really think the word "most" is a huge overstatement. Yes, this is my opinion, but it's based on many things I've seen and read and heard, both at online forums such as this one and IRL.


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

Several reasons that haven't been discussed:

1) The European companies introduced large machines to the US that were more expensive than existing alternatives, but offered few major advantages. Had they offered features otherwise unavailable - say 240v power (perhaps optional) for faster cycles and higher temperatures, or a large combination washer/dryer, there's be a reason to pay more for them. The smaller machines will remain because in most of the world, those are considered standard full-size machines. They had to set up special assembly lines for the large US-size machines, which are niche-market giant-capacity machines nearly everywhere else and don't sell in large numbers.

2) They did a poor job of marketing what advantages they did have.

3) The 27"w laundry machines reached the market during the housing bubble, when everyone was upgrading their homes for themselves or for resale. With the Great Recession, the credit crunch, and housing still in a downward spiral, sales of upscale appliances have dwindled.

4) and this is a major factor - the housing bubble of the late '90s to mid '00s resulted in a profusion of new stores to cater to the hot home-improvement market. Suddenly, high-end items of all sorts, including appliances, that were formerly sold at small independent boutiques were now being hawked at big-box stores. When the housing market went bust, these retailers, most notably Expo Design Center and The Great Indoors, went out of business, and with them, a major source of Miele/Bosch/Asko sales. Several independent shops and local chains closed their doors as well. At least where I live - and it's near a big city - there's hardly any stores left selling Miele or Asko, and thus few opportunities for potential customers to see their products - indeed many probably have never heard of them. I haven't seen sales figures, but I'm sure they're way down from the housing-bubble era.


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

And one last factor:

5) By the time Bosch, Asko, and Miele entered the large W/D market, the existing players such as Electrolux/Frigidaire, Whirlpool, and GE had expanded and improved their large front-load washer lineups considerably, and Koreans Samsung and LG (did they even sell appliances in the US ten years ago?) quickly and almost effortlessly established a major US presense, in part because they were already familiar brands to consumers from flat-screen TVs and cell phones, and because they already had good distribution connections with Best Buy and Sears.


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

How insulting some of this thread has become. Come on people. Generalizations about American people and how they do their laundry and how they think about laundry, or anything else IS an insutling assumption. How arrogant to profess to know how all Americans think and feel, or the reasons behind their thoughts. You don't know all these people you are referring to.

I have a new Speed Queen washer and dryer now. I love them. Yes, the "inferior" old American top load washer. My washer fills with hot water when I want it, warm water when I want it, and cold water when I want it. It lets ME choose the temperature and the water level. My clothes are absolutely the freshest and cleanest they have been in years. In 30 minutes. It is a simple, basic, non computer machine. It does what it is supposed to. It washes my clothes. Clean. No smells.The first time through.

My husband rebuilt my older German made Whirlpool Duet washing machine, which is also in my laundry room. I use it only for quilts, pillows, and throw rugs. It does a fine job on them. I never felt it did anything but a mediocre job on my general laundry, and it took forever. Prior to the Duets I had the Maytag front loaders. I won't even go there.

Maybe some of us Americans make our choices because we prefer to support an American company. When it came time to buy a new washer and dryer this year for my new home I decided to go back to basics since I don't have a need for bells and whistles. The fact that the Speed Queens were made here in America clinched the deal. I couldn't be happier.

Laundromat washers do not generally do a good job washing clothes whether American or European made. I've used both while traveling. They do an "O.K". job. They are not always maintained well or kept very clean. Laundromats are set up to make a profit so costs and corners will be cut. I wouldn't base a washer choice for my home on a laundromat experience.

Some of the unhappiness with washers lately also has to do with government regulations that have been forced on us. The laundry detergents as a rule are not all that great anymore, and some laundry items need very hot water, the choice of which has been taken away on most washing machine models.

Unfortunately, the U.S. government would never allow the hot temperatures that are allowed in the European machines. This has resulted in more energy consumption here rather than less, as frustrated people wash clothing on long cycles, and sometimes more than once, trying to get their wash clean.

Maybe the European manufacturers have gotten tired of dealing with the regulations here, and the amount of sales aren't worth the hassles. The fact is, we don't really know all their reasons.

People base their purchases on budget, and what appeals to them. There is no right or wrong. It doesn't reflect on their morality or their intelligence. It is based on their choice. Period.

To make statements that Europeans have cleaner clothes, smell better, and that there is something wrong with Americans wanting a load of wash done in less than two hours wash time, or that we don't know a thing or two about hot water versus cold water....wow. Not sure why some of these forums turn ugly.


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

We all color our judgements with personal experience and to some degree prejudice. While I personally don't know any multi-generational Indian families with high end appliances I do know a family (mom, dad, one kid) that lives a few blocks over who is selling their almost 6,000 sq. ft. home for somewhere north of $1.5 million. From the pictures it seems very but I can't identify brand of appliances but the ad describes them as "superior."

I happened down a couple of streets yesterday not too far from here and noticed what appeared to be very nice, large homes with overgrown landscapes. I can only presume they are abandoned, victims of the current economic crisis in America. I don't know if either have high end appliances that will add to their resale value but I suspect whatever value they may add will be significantly reduced on the auction block. One might wonder if those families had bought more modestly sized houses, with more modestly prices appliances if they might still be living in them.

I love when people tell me how they "appreciate" certain things because the implication is that others lack that ability. The reality of the situation is that, for example, all but the cheapest of dishwashers will get your dishes clean. There's just clean and not clean. There's no extra clean. I don't see much sense in paying for eight extra wash cycles I'll never use. I also don't see the return on investment in those eight extra cycles should I decide to sell my home because I have to hope that the prospective buyer appreciates the finer things. From what I've read here, that's a pretty elite group.


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

I disagree. Most low end appliances might 'get the job done' but it's often not as well done or as efficient. I'm not an appliance snob but I've had plenty of experience with low-end appliances having lived for 20 years in base housing. In our new home I did expect better appliances but it didn't keep us from buying the home. The previous owner was frugal and most of the cosmetics and appliances in this home are cheap and we're replacing it as we can afford and what fits on our priority list. Stove and fridge went right away but I'm stuck with the working,albeit not great, hotpoint dishwasher. I prewash which was already second nature because of the base housing dishwashers(same brand even). I cannot wait to upgrade to a better machine. I'm not a brand snob but I can tell when x machine does the job better than machine y.


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

@sandy808

You are right on. Your prognosis is one reason I rarely post in this forum any more, and only occasionally lurk in it. I recall people being a little more friendly and open to discussion in the past, but in the last few years some new members have changed the tone quite a bit and make open discussion (without an attack or flame retort) almost an impossibility. Some refer to them as "appliance snobs" but I think it's more closely related to the mindset that has us in such political deadlock nowadays: the intolerant attitude that "if you think differently than me you are, by definition, wrong."


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

mike_kaiser, I agree that dishes are either clean or not clean. They're non-porous and shiny, and often light-colored, so debris or stains are obvious. But fabrics are a different matter. Back when we had traditional top-loaders, we washed dish towels on the Hot setting, using Tide detergent. The way they came out was "clean", by definition. But the first time we washed a batch of dish towels on a front-loader's sanitize cycle (this was an LG, not the Miele we have now), they came out so clean that our supply of "clean" towels from the top-loader seemed dirty, slimy, and disgusting by comparison. So we had to put them through the sanitize cycle too. And this was using Sears detergent, rated much lower than Tide.

Given what I've learned about laundry since then, I could probably improve my top-loader results now, by raising my water heater temperature, pre-spotting, soaking for an extended period of time, and perhaps using an array of chemicals. But it's so much easier with the front loader with internal heater. The same holds true for the rest of my laundry. The longer front-loader cycles just get everything cleaner with no effort on my part, even for stuff washed at more normal temperatures.

dudleyfuddpucker, I can think of one confrontational and intolerant forum member whom I try to ignore. But I believe he/she would find reasons to be nasty no matter what brand they owned.


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

[...]towels from the top-loader seemed dirty, slimy, and disgusting by comparison.

And so it continues...


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

I'm describing a wash load of my dish towels, done in my washing machine, in my house. No reason for anyone else to take offense.


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

All right, I think we all need to take a step back, relax, take a deep breath and account for personal preferences, tastes and expectations. I am a clean freak, probably borderline OCD, so for me clean means "really, super, extra clean" ;-) So my expectations for clean clothes (and clean towels, sheets, kitchen towels, etc.) are a lot higher than most other people's. That's not to say that my ways are better than other people's. Nothing wrong with different expectations. I personally think that European washers with precise temp and cycle length control do a better job than American washers as far as my personal preferences are concerned. But this is just me :-) - I also couldn't abide my old Kenmore dishwasher when it left tea and coffee cups "clean" but still stained.... The new Bosch dishwasher leaves my dishes sparkling clean and my coffee mugs have no staining or discoloration.
So please, don't diss the opinions expressed here. They are just personal opinions that people express and as long as freedom of expression is the rule in this country, everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. Peace!


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

Sandy808: "Unfortunately, the U.S. government would never allow the hot temperatures that are allowed in the European machines."

The United States government never has limited, and at this time does not limit, the temperature of water in washing machines. Your sources are misinformed.


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

izeve, you've been nothing but condescending in this whole thread. Your expectations for clean laundry is just "a lot higher than most other people's." Please.

You are entitled to your opinions, but they are merely opinions. You can be an expert on your own expectations, but you are not an expert on the standards and expectations of other people you've never met.

I have my own laundry experiences in the US, Europe and other parts of the world. They are different than your experiences.

Posting a provocative opinion and asking people not to "diss" it is tantamount to asking people not to disagree with you. That's ridiculous. As is your understanding of what freedom of expression means in this country.


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

This is a laundry forum, so you're going to find people who are passionate about laundry. It's like if I went to an audio forum and was offended by people with their amplifiers and equalizers and DAC's and all, when my Pioneer receiver is good enough for me.


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

It's like if I went to an audio forum and was offended by people with their amplifiers and equalizers and DAC's and all, when my Pioneer receiver is good enough for me.

Translation: Since I don't know or appreciate what good music sounds like, of course I'm happy with my Pioneer receiver.

Look, you can be condescending, snarky, passionate, or anything else you want here. But don't pretend it isn't patently obvious and feign shock that someone would point it out.


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

Well, yeah, my music appreciation skills are lacking. Maybe it's the kind of music I like, maybe it's my hearing, maybe I'm tone-deaf, maybe I'm just too lazy to discern the subtleties. So I'm satisfied with less-than-stellar sound equipment. This doesn't bother me, and I doubt that anyone judges me for it, on Internet forums or in the real world.


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

suburbanmd, you are equating "passion" with "intolerance." These need not be inclusive, shall I say "traits"? One can be passionate about any subject and yet open minded, accepting, and even interested in varying or contrary opinions. Such a person is secure enough in themselves that they recognize the strength that comes from differing viewpoints, rather than dismissing them as inherently "wrong."

Your "stereo" analogy is interesting I have been a music aficionado since my early teens (which was longer ago than I care to say), and have more now invested in my stereo equipment than most people do in their cars. And yet I have never, ever dismissed anyone else's choices as anything but "different" than mine; not better, not worse, and I have never suggested in any discussion that "well, I guess my requirements in music are just superior to yours" because that would imply that my preferences are somehow "better," which by definition is impossible.

What we have acquired in this forum is not passion, not snobbery (well, maybe some snobbery) but mostly intolerance. And poorly-disguised nonsensical insults like "most people don't prefer overpriced Euro front loaders like me because they are dirtier and have no appreciation for clean laundry" make this all too obvious.

Enough said.


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

Lesson learned about trying to assuage someone's hurt feelings on this forum. Not worth it, and likely counterproductive.


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

Mike_Kaiser said:
I happened down a couple of streets yesterday not too far from here and noticed what appeared to be very nice, large homes with overgrown landscapes. I can only presume they are abandoned, victims of the current economic crisis in America. I don't know if either have high end appliances that will add to their resale value but I suspect whatever value they may add will be significantly reduced on the auction block. One might wonder if those families had bought more modestly sized houses, with more modestly prices appliances if they might still be living in them.

You cannot use foreclosed properties that are on the auction block to make an argument that high end appliances don't add value to the homes. First of all, many of these homes no longer have their appliances - they have been stolen and sold on Craigslist a long time ago. There are other issues surrounding auctioned/distressed properties that lower their value as opposed to a regular resale to an owner occupant that have nothing to do with the property's amenities or features.

I love when people tell me how they "appreciate" certain things because the implication is that others lack that ability.

Really, you think that when someone says they appreciate something they are actually insulting everyone else by implying that everyone else lacks the ability to appreciate? That's more than a little insecure on your part, don't you think?

The reality of the situation is that, for example, all but the cheapest of dishwashers will get your dishes clean. There's just clean and not clean. There's no extra clean. I don't see much sense in paying for eight extra wash cycles I'll never use. I also don't see the return on investment in those eight extra cycles should I decide to sell my home because I have to hope that the prospective buyer appreciates the finer things. From what I've read here, that's a pretty elite group.

Fine for you, but don't come in here and label people snobs. Calling people names is different than expressing an alternative opinion. Can you see the difference?


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RE: Why are the European manufacturers leaving the US W/D market?

suburbanmd, you don't say who's hurt feelings you felt you were trying assuage. If they were mine, your assumption about someone else's feelings couldn't be more wrong.

In fact, it would LOL ironic if that were the case after I previously explained the difference in knowing and speaking to your own feelings/standards and being condescending when you pretend to know and speak for others'. Lesson not learned.


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