Atul Vir

Editor in chief of Dealerscope

Atul Vir, president of Equator Advanced Appliances, which sells the small-appliance brand Equator and, under that label, the unique Super Combo washer/dryer, serves this and other niche markets with products that push the envelope in consumer customization with each new generation. 

By Lisa Hartratkin Energy efficiency, larger capacity and more fabric care cycles have become a key feature pack for selling traditional washers, as well as for the horizontal axis machines now arriving on the market. Pretty much the standard in Europe, h-axis represents the first major change in North American laundry products in decades. Led by Maytag's Neptune introduction over a year ago, U.S. major appliance makers are coming out with their own models. With one exception--from Staber--they're all front-loading. Realistically, American consumers are not exactly energy-obsessed. "The most important thing to consumers is performance," said Maytag Laundry Product Planner Frank Nekic. "They want to keep whites white,

By Jamie Latshaw What was hot in '98 in major appliance stores? Product innovation and a little help from Mother Nature made 1998 a very good year. The weather was a considerable factor, putting retailers in position for a stable year as the sale of air conditioners rose from 1997, with a cool, low-humidity summer and not many a/c sales. In addition, a number of product trends took hold this year and likely will keep the market going into 1999. Healthy Water Hype Water filtration systems in side-by-side refrigerators saw a big push. Maytag's lines, specifically the Jenn-Air Twin Fresh side-by-sides, promote its "fresh ideas" in refrigeration and water filtration. GE Appliances

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