Whirlpool Corp  (WHR)
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Whirlpool Corp

Business Description

The Company manufactures and markets a full line of major appliances and related products, primarily for home use. The Company’s principal products are home laundry appliances, home refrigerators and freezers, home cooking appliances, home dishwashers, room air-conditioning equipment, and mixers and other small household appliances. Approximately 10% of the Company’s unit sales volume is purchased from other manufacturers for resale by the Company. The Company also produces hermetic compressors and plastic components, primarily for the home appliance and electronics industries.

The Company markets and distributes major home appliances in the United States under the Whirlpool, KitchenAid, Roper, and Estate brand names primarily to retailers, buying groups, and builders. KitchenAid portable appliances, such as mixers, are sold directly to retailers. The Company sells products to the builder trade both directly and through distributors. Additionally, the Company sells to Crosley Corporation under the Crosley private label brand, and to Costco Wholesale Corporation under the Kirkland Signature brand. Major home appliances are manufactured and/or distributed in Canada under the Inglis, Admiral, Speed Queen, Whirlpool, Roper, and KitchenAid brand names. In Mexico, major home appliances are manufactured and marketed under the Whirlpool, Acros, KitchenAid, Estate, Roper, and Supermatic brand names. Some products are sold in limited quantities by the Company to other manufacturers and retailers for resale in North America under their respective brand names.

The Company has been the principal supplier of home laundry appliances to Sears, Roebuck and Co. (“Sears”) for over 80 years. The Company is also the principal supplier to Sears of residential trash compactors and a major supplier to Sears of dishwashers, freestanding ranges, home refrigerators and freezers, and microwave-hood combinations. The Company supplies products to Sears for sale under Sears’ Kenmore brand name. Sears has also been a major outlet for the Company’s Whirlpool and KitchenAid brand products since 1989.

In Europe, Whirlpool markets and distributes its major home appliances under the Whirlpool, Bauknecht, Ignis, Laden, and Polar brand names and its portable appliances under the KitchenAid brand name. In addition to its extensive operations in Western Europe, the Company has sales subsidiaries in Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Croatia, and Morocco and representative offices in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Yugoslavia, and Slovenia. In certain Eastern European countries, products bearing the Whirlpool, Polar, and Ignis brand names are sold through distributors. The Company manufactures refrigerators and freezers and markets a full line of products under the Whirlpool, KIC, and Ignis brand names in South Africa. Whirlpool’s European operations also sell products carrying the Whirlpool, Bauknecht, and Ignis brand names to distributors and dealers in Africa and the Middle East.

In Latin America, the Company markets and distributes its major home appliances through regional networks under the Whirlpool, Brastemp, Consul, and Eslabon de Lujo brand names. Appliance sales and distribution in Brazil, Argentina, and Chile are managed by the Company’s Brazilian subsidiary, and in Bolivia, Peru, Paraguay, and Uruguay through distributors. Appliance sales and distribution in Central American countries, the Caribbean, Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador are managed by Whirlpool’s North America Region and through distributors.

In Asia, the Company has organized the manufacture, marketing, and distribution of its major home appliances into five operating groups: (1) mainland China; (2) South Asia, which includes India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal; (3) Oceania, which includes Australia, New Zealand, and Pacific Islands; (4) North Asia, which includes Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, and Japan; and (5) Southeast Asia, which includes Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. The Company markets and sells its products in Asia under the brand names Whirlpool, KitchenAid, Bauknecht, and Ignis by a combination of direct sales to high-volume retailers and chain stores, and through full-service distributors to a large network of electronics stores.


The major home appliance business is highly competitive. In most major markets throughout the world. The Company firmly believes that it can best compete in the current environment by providing value added products and services under its strong brand names.

The Company believes that, in terms of units sold, it is the largest North American manufacturer of home laundry appliances and one of the largest North American manufacturers of home refrigerators and freezers, room air conditioning equipment, dishwashers, and cooking products. The Company believes that in North America there are approximately 20 manufacturers or marketers of major home appliances.

The Company believes that in Europe it is, in terms of units sold, one of the largest manufacturers and marketers of major home appliance products, out of approximately 35 European manufacturers, the majority of which manufacture a limited range of products for a specific geographic region. There continues to be significant merger and acquisition activity as manufacturers seek to broaden product lines and expand geographic markets, and the Company believes that some merger and acquisition activity will continue. The Company believes that its Pan European organizational structure and strategy of marketing brand names that are recognized throughout the region are competitive advantages in the European market.

The Company believes that it is well-positioned in the Latin American appliance market due to its ability to offer a broad range of products under well-recognized brand names to meet the specific requirements of consumers in the region. The Company believes that it is about twice the size of its nearest competitor and that there are approximately 25 manufacturers or marketers of major home appliances in the region.

In Asia, the major home appliance market is characterized by low saturation and, as a result, rapid growth (except in Japan and South Korea). The Asian market is served by approximately 50 manufacturers or marketers of varying size and position on a country-by-country basis. The Company believes that it is one of the industry leaders in the Indian market and it continues to establish itself throughout the remainder of the region.

Competition in most of the Company’s markets is based upon a wide variety of factors, including, principally, product features, price, product quality and performance, service, warranty, advertising, and promotion. As a result of its global position, the Company believes it has a competitive advantage by reason of its ability to leverage engineering capabilities across regions, transfer best practices, purchase raw materials and component parts in large volumes, and economically produce a finished product.

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