FagorBrandt revives Thomson

It’s the great return of the Thomson brand. The household appliance manufacturer FagorBrandt has chosen to relaunch it with an original positioning: to make it its flagship of “made in France”, through exclusive distribution on the Internet.

We thought it was almost dead, but now the Thomson brand is rising from its ashes in the household appliances! The Franco-Spanish group FagorBrandt, the number 1 in the sector in France, is betting on relaunching it today, with a complete range of cooking appliances, washing machines and dishwashers. With two major features: an almost exclusively “made in France” positioning and unique distribution on a dedicated e-commerce website.

This is the first time in France that a household appliance manufacturer has chosen to bypass the historical distributors such as Darty or Conforama and launch directly into distance selling. “We wanted to avoid any duplication and competition with traditional networks. For this reason, the brand will only be offered on the Internet”, we insist internally.

The French number one in household appliances

776 million in sales in 2009 (compared to 845 million in 2008)
3,450 employees, including 2,900 in France (and 2,200 in plants)
6 industrial sites including 5 in France
2 logistics platforms, in Meung-sur-loire (Loiret) and St-Quentin-Fallavier (Isère)
Subsidiary of the Spanish group Fagor since 2005, Europe’s 5th largest household appliances group.
Main brands: Brandt, Vedette, Sauter, De Dietrich, Thomson and Fagor

Five plants in France

With this operation, Fagor-Brandt hopes in particular to find a growth driver to maintain production at its five French plants, which employ 2,200 people.

Thomson appliances, positioned in the middle of the range, are manufactured in Lyon (washing machines), La Roche-sur-Yon (tumble dryers and dishwashers), Aizenay (microwaves), Orléans (ovens, induction tables and cookers) and Vendôme (vitroceramic hobs and hoods). On the other hand, there is only one drawback: refrigeration appliances (refrigerators and freezers) are produced in Italy at Verolanuova, since the group does not have this industrial activity in France.

Although FagorBrandt refuses to disclose the amount invested in the operation and its commercial objectives, it does, however, ensure that it will be able to control the logistics of direct unit sales without any problem. “We had already been experimenting with a similar site in Germany for a year, and in France with an online sales site for our staff,” explains FagorBrandt.

Importance of “Made In France

The choice of the Thomson brand for this operation is not insignificant. Historically linked to Brandt when the French manufacturer was still called Thomson électroménager (until 1993), it was abandoned following the acquisition by the Spanish company Fagor in 2005. It is now operated through a licensing agreement with the Technicolor group (formerly Thomson Multimedia), which still owns the property rights.

“Thomson continues to enjoy a strong reputation among French consumers. And the notion of French manufacturing is becoming more and more important to them,” the manufacturer justifies.

According to a study conducted for Kelkoo by the YouGov institute, between 14 and 18 October 2010, 67% of French people believe that it is important that the products they buy are made in France. And 9 out of 10 say they attach importance to the French origin of their purchases, especially in the large household appliances (66%).

On the other hand, the majority of consumers do not yet seem ready to pay more for a French product. Only 27% of them are willing to pay a supplement of no more than 5%! However, FagorBrandt is expecting a change in morals in the near future.

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