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Appliance manufacturing returns to the U.S.

Article-Appliance manufacturing returns to the U.S.

The appliance industry continues its geographic reshuffling with the announcement from Whirlpool Corp. that it will move production of its commercial front-load washing machines from Monterrey, Mexico to Clyde, OH. The move reaffirms Whirlpool's continued commitment to its U.S. manufacturing base and its confidence in the Clyde skilled workforce, the company said. Approximately 80-100 new jobs will be created in Clyde during the next three years to support this manufacturing relocation.

Whirlpool said that the relocation will increase operational efficiencies and align with the company's strategy of building products in the regions where they are primarily sold. Production of the front-load commercial washer platform is due to begin in the U.S. in April 2014.

"We continue to invest in advanced manufacturing processes in our Clyde, Ohio plant where we have a highly skilled workforce, making this a smart, long-term business decision for us," said Jeff Durham, VP of U.S. manufacturing for Whirlpool Corporation. "We look forward to ramping up production and building this quality product for the U.S. and abroad, right here in Clyde, Ohio."

Whirlpool's Clyde manufacturing plant is 2.4 million sq-ft - and is the largest washing machine plant in the world, according to Whirlpool. Whirlpool currently manufactures all of its residential washers for the U.S. market in its Clyde plant, including washers sold under the brands Whirlpool, Maytag, Amana, Estate, Roper, Crosley, Admiral and Kenmore, as well as the company's Canadian brand, Inglis. All accompanying dryers are made in Whirlpool's dryer manufacturing facility in Marion, OH.

Competing appliance maker, Electrolux AB - the second largest behind Whirlpool - announced plans to expand its North American headquarters in Charlotte, NC, creating more than 800 additional jobs over the next four years. The company plans to construct a new six-floor, 375,000 sq-ft facility for marketing, research and development and other company operations, said a release from Electrolux.

In November, Electrolux announced that it had begun production on its first home cooking appliances at its new 750,000-square-foot facility in Memphis, TN. The $266 million state-of-the-art facility will produce the Frigidaire and Frigidaire Gallery slide-in ranges. The plant will ultimately produce a variety of signature items, including Electrolux Electrolux ICON and Frigidaire build-in and specialty cooking products, wall ovens and specialty free-standing ranges.

"We produce one out of every three ovens sold in the U.S.," said Jack Truong, president and CEO of Electrolux Major Appliances North America. "Electrolux is committed to U.S. manufacturing and driving innovation. Today we tie together advanced manufacturing systems, visionary planning and a collaborative public-private partnership. The new facility is efficient in its automation, but also relies on our skilled teammates to create our high-quality products."

The Memphis plant has hired approximately 500 employees in manufacturing, engineering, supply-chain management, finance and operations management and will eventually employ 1,200 people over the course of the next five years as it reaches full production.

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