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Today at the 2015 Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS), Frigidaire announced a brand new suite of appliances for its Professional line: ranges, microwaves, dishwashers, and fridges that now feature a design that Frigidaire says is "restaurant-inspired." Think bulky handles, weighted knobs, and symmetrical lines—but at prices that are squarely mass market.
The seven new models wearing the Professional badge will have a straightforward design, with straightforward controls to match. They will also wear the same smudge-proof stainless steel finish featured on the more modern Frigidaire Gallery lineup—also showing off some new models at KBIS. The new Professional lineup is set to launch this April.
“This new suite meets an unmet need in the mass market,” said John Weinstock, Frigidaire's Senior Vice President of Marketing. “Consumers want a professional look in their kitchen."
The new appliances are also sized to replace existing mass-market models, so customers can get that look without changing cabinetry or countertops.
The lineup includes a freestanding range with either front controls or back controls, a dishwasher, a French door refrigerator, an all-refrigerator, an all-freezer, and an over-the-range convection microwave.
It's not unusual for an appliance manufacturer to create sub-brands that appeal to every potential segment of the market.
For instance, Whirlpool Corporation recently helped differentiate its Maytag brand by beefing up warranty coverage along with handles, while updating the Whirlpool brand to look sleek and modern. And many GE Café appliances are identical to their GE Profile counterparts—aside from their unique exteriors.
Nobody will confuse a Frigidaire Professional range for the Garland or Vulcan that's in the kitchen of your local steakhouse. But its industrial look and simplified controls can make a home chef feel like he's in charge of his creation—even if he's just reheating leftovers.