AB Electrolux (commonly known as Electrolux) is a Swedish multinational home appliance manufacturer, headquartered in Stockholm. It is consistently ranked the world's second-largest appliance maker by units sold (after Whirlpool). Electrolux products sell under a variety of brand names (including its own), and are primarily major appliances and vacuum cleaners intended for consumer use. The company additionally makes appliances for professional use.
The company originates from a merger of two companies—Lux AB and Svenska Elektron AB. The former an established manufacturer and the latter a younger company founded by a former vacuum salesman who was additionally a former employee of the former firm. The origins of Electrolux are closely tied to the vacuum, but today it additionally makes major appliances.
Sales company to major manufacturer
In 1919, a Svenska Elektron AB acquisition, Elektromekaniska AB, became Elektrolux. (the spelling was changed to Electrolux in 1957.) It initially sold Lux-branded vacuum cleaners in several European countries.
In 1923, the company acquired AB Arctic and subsequently added absorption refrigerators to its product line. Other appliances soon followed, including washing machines in 1951, dishwashers in 1959, and food service equipment in 1962.
Mergers and acquisitions
The company has often and regularly expanded through mergers and acquisitions.
While Electrolux had bought several companies before the 1960s, that decade saw the beginnings of a new wave of M&A activity. The company bought ElektroHelios, Norwegian Elektra, Danish Atlas, Finnish Slev, and Flymo, et al., in the nine years from 1960 to 1969. This style of growth continued through the 1990s, seeing Electrolux purchase scores of companies including, for a time, Husqvarna.
Hans Werthen, President and later Chairman of the Board, led the strategic core of an increasingly decentralised Electrolux—and was instrumental to its rapid growth.
While attempts to cut costs, centralise administration, and wring out economies of scale from Electrolux's operations were made in the 1960s and 1970s with the focus so firmly on growth, further company-wide restructuring efforts only began in the late 1990s.
A public company
2000 to present
In North America, the Electrolux name was long-used by a vacuum cleaner manufacturer, Aerus LLC, originally established to sell Swedish Electrolux products. In 2000, Aerus transferred trademark rights back to the Electrolux Group. Aerus stopped using the Electrolux brand in 2004. Before 2000 Electrolux-made vacuums carried the Eureka brand name, and while Electrolux continued to make Eureka-branded vacuums after it regained the right to use its own brand, it additionally began selling Electrolux-branded vacuums, too. Electrolux USA customer service maintains a database of Electrolux-made vacuums and provides a link to Aerus in case an Electrolux-branded vacuum cleaner was made by Aerus.
Keith McLoughlin took over as President and CEO on January 1, 2011, and became the company's first non-Swedish chief executive.
In August 2011, Electrolux acquired from Sigdo Koppers the Chilean appliance manufacturer CTI obtaining several brands with the purchase including: Fensa, Gafa, Mademsa and Somela.
- 1919: The Lux vacuum is the first product Electrolux sells.
- 1925: D, Electrolux's first refrigerator, is an absorption model.
- 1937: Electrolux model 30 vacuum is unveiled.
- 1940: Assistent (Swedish for assistant), the company's only wartime consumer product, is a mixer/food processor.
- 1951: W 20, Electrolux's first home washing machine, is manufactured in post–World War II Gothenburg, Sweden.
- 1959: D 10, the company's first dishwasher, is a counter-top model nicknamed "round jar".
- 2001: Launch of the Electrolux Trilobite, a robotic vacuum cleaner.
Electrolux sells under a wide variety of brand names worldwide. Most of them were acquired through mergers and acquisitions and only do business in a single country or geographic area. The following is an incomplete list.
- Atlas[:da] (Denmark)
- Corberó (Spain)
- Dometic, appliances for RV's, additionally uses the Electrolux logo. Based in Sweden and owned by Dometic Group, itself owned by EQT Partners after 2011.
- Elektro Helios, manufacturer of consumer appliances for the Swedish market
- Faure, French consumer appliance maker
- Lehel, consumer appliance brand sold in Hungary and elsewhere
- Marynen/Marijnen, consumer product brand sold in the Netherlands
- Parkinson Cowan, cooking appliances (UK)
- Progress, vacuum cleaner brand sold throughout Europe
- REX-Electrolux, Italian appliance manufacturer
- Rosenlew, consumer product brand sold in Scandinavian countries
- Voss, premium consumer cooking appliance and equipment supplier in Denmark and elsewhere
- Zanker, consumer kitchen appliance brand sold in central Europe
- Zanussi, Italian appliance manufacturer that became part of Electrolux in 1984
- Zanussi Professional, professional kitchen equipment manufacturer
- Zoppas, consumer products brand sold in Italy
- Australia and Oceania
- Dishlex brand sold in Australia
- Kelvinator, commercial refrigerator and freezer brand sold in Australia and elsewhere
- Simpson, consumer appliance brand sold in Australia
- Westinghouse, a kitchen appliance brand in Australia licenced from Westinghouse Electric Corp to Electrolux Home Products Pty Ltd.
- North America
- Electrolux ICON, premium consumer appliance brand sold in the US
- Eureka, American consumer vacuum cleaner brand
- Gibson, refrigerator and air conditioning manufacturer
- Philco, former U.S. consumer electronics manufacturer, though brand name is additionally used separately by Philips Electronics
- Sanitaire, commercial product division of Eureka
- Tappan, former U.S. appliance manufacturer
- White-Westinghouse, former U.S. appliance manufacturer
- Latin America
- Fensa, Chilean consumer appliance brand, widely available in Latin America.
- Gafa, Argentinean appliance manufacturer.
- Mademsa, Chilean home appliance brand
- Prosdócimo, refrigerator, fridge and air conditioning brand sold in Brazil
- Somela, Chilean home appliance brand, available throughout Latin America
- Middle East
- King, Israeli kitchen appliance brand made by REX-Electrolux, an Italian Electrolux subsidiary.
- Olympic Group, home appliance brand in Egypt
- Arthur Martin-Electrolux
- Beam, Electrolux's central vacuum brand
- Dito, professional food processing equipment
- Electrolux Laundry Systems
- Electrolux Professional
- Frigidaire, full range major appliance brand sold globally
- Juno-Electrolux, premium consumer kitchen appliance brand
- Molteni, professional stoves
- Tornado, vacuum cleaners and additional consumer products
- Tricity Bendix
- Volta, vacuum cleaner brand sold in Australia, Sweden and elsewhere
- Wascator, now under Electrolux Laundry Systems
Note: This list doesn't include brands such as Kenmore and John Lewis, which might sell Electrolux-produced appliances but aren't owned by or affiliated with Electrolux, as Electrolux acts as an OEM for these brands.
The company's current international slogan is "Thinking of you".
In the 1960s the company successfully marketed vacuums in the United Kingdom with the slogan "Nothing sucks like an Electrolux". In the United States it was frequently assumed that using this slogan was a brand blunder. In fact, the informal US meaning of the word was already well known in the UK at the time, and the company hoped the slogan, with its possible double entendre, would gain attention.
In 2003 the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission resolved a complaint that Muslim workers at the St. Cloud factory weren't allowed a sufficient number of breaks to observe their daily prayers.
In 2010 and again in 2011 complaints against the company were filed by Muslim workers in Electrolux's plant in St. Cloud, Minnesota, with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The 2010 complaint, that workers weren't able to observe Ramadan, was resolved. The 2011 complaint stems from the 30-minute breaks agreed to in 2010 being later reduced to 20 minutes by Electrolux.
- Constructor Group AS, a former Electrolux subsidiary not involved in major appliance manufacture