PEORIA, ILL.—Electrolux and Sharp Corp. are working together to develop a new range of midsized, energy-efficient frost-free refrigerators. This project is part of a broader strategic collaboration within major appliances between the two companies.
The refrigeration project started last year and includes mutual exchange of information, know-how and consumer research. In terms of product development/technical development, the two companies have built a structure of sharing tasks on product planning, production, and assessment of products.
This first project consists of joint development of six different types of environmentally friendly, energy-saving small and midsize frost-free refrigerators. Electrolux and Sharp will differentiate their own products in terms of marketing, design and features. The products will be built in Sharp’s Thailand factory and launched during the autumn of 2006.
With this achievement of collaboration in refrigeration, the two companies have formed a basis to continue to leverage on the complementary strengths of each other in order to increase global competitiveness. The long-term aim is to offer consumers innovative products and to improve speed to market.
Several projects within other product categories are in the pipeline. The collaboration also covers sourcing with the aim to decrease purchasing costs. Sharp and Electrolux currently have more than $100 million dollars worth of business between each other, and the amount is expected to increase.
“Our two companies have different strengths,” says Sharp president Katsuhiko Machida. “Sharp is leading one-of-a-kind technology in environment and health and Electrolux is leading in consumer research and the product development process. This combination is unique and will deliver new, exciting solutions in the major appliances area as each company leverages the strengths of the other.”
“This is a unique model of collaboration between two companies that are partly competitors,” says Electrolux president & c.e.o. Hans Stråberg. “We have built an openness where we in specific areas share product plans and technologies from which both companies can benefit. The collaboration is clearly in line with the innovation strategy of Electrolux.”