AB Electrolux (commonly known as Electrolux) is a Swedish multinational home appliance manufacturer, headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden. 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 also 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 also a former employee of the former firm. The origins of Electrolux are closely tied to the vacuum, but today it also 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, a President and later Chairman of the Board, led the strategic core of an increasingly decentralized 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 also 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.
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.
- Arthur Martin-Electrolux
- Beam, Electrolux's central vacuum brand 
- Dishlex brand sold in Australia 
- Dito, professional food processing equipment
- Dometic, appliances for RV's, also uses the Electrolux logo
- Electrolux ICON, premium consumer appliance brand sold in the US 
- Elektro Helios, manufacturer of consumer appliances for the Swedish market 
- Electrolux Laundry Systems
- Electrolux Professional
- Eureka, American consumer vacuum cleaner brand 
- Faure, French consumer appliance maker 
- Fensa, Chilean consumer appliance brand, widely available in Latin America.
- Frigidaire, full range major appliance brand sold globally 
- Gafa, Argentinean appliance manufacturer.
- Gibson, refrigerator and air conditioning manufacturer 
- Juno-Electrolux, premium consumer kitchen appliance brand 
- Kelvinator, commercial refrigerator and freezer brand sold in Australia and elsewhere 
- King, Israeli kitchen appliance brand made by REX-Electrolux, an Italian Electrolux subsidiary.
- Lehel, consumer appliance brand sold in Hungary and elsewhere
- Mademsa, Chilean home appliance brand
- Marynen/Marijnen, consumer product brand sold in the Netherlands
- Molteni, professional stoves
- Olympic Group, home appliance brand
- Parkinson Cowan, cooking appliances
- Philco, former U.S. consumer electronics manufacturer, though brand name is also used separately by Philips Electronics
- Progress, vacuum cleaner brand sold throughout Europe
- Prosdócimo, refrigerator, fridge and air conditioning brand sold in Brazil
- REX-Electrolux, Italian appliance manufacturer 
- Rosenlew, consumer product brand sold in Scandinavian countries 
- Sanitaire, commercial product division of Eureka
- Simpson, consumer appliance brand sold in Australia
- Somela, Chilean home appliance brand, available throughout Latin America 
- Tornado, vacuum cleaners and other consumer products 
- Tappan, former U.S. appliance manufacturer
- Tricity Bendix
- Volta, vacuum cleaner brand sold in Australia, Sweden and elsewhere
- Voss, premium consumer cooking appliance and equipment supplier in Denmark and elsewhere 
- White-Westinghouse, former U.S. appliance manufacturer
- 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 
Please note:This list does not include brands such as Kenmore and John Lewis, which may sell Electrolux-produced appliances but are not owned by or affiliated with Electrolux. (Electrolux acts as an OEM for these brands.)
- 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.
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 were not 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 were not 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, an Electrolux subsidiary not involved in major appliance manufacture