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Murry Comments on Maytag Brand

Some day, perhaps soon, shoppers will have a shorter list of appliances to chose from as Whirlpool Corp. blends Maytag Corp. into its operations.

Whirlpool said Wednesday that it plans to move production of Maytag washers and dryers to Ohio and continue the brand name.

John Murry, an associate professor of marketing at the University of Iowa, noted that Procter & Gamble Co. manages hundreds of brand names. The key to the success of those brands, he said, is that they "position themselves in a very distinct way so that they don't compete against each other."

As the largest appliance maker in the nation even before it bought Maytag, Whirlpool presumably knows much about who buys its products and why, Murry said. That research will continue and go forward, he said, the merged company will focus its production and marketing efforts on products that have the strongest sales or potential.

The number of brands likely will fall, Murry said. Ideally, he said Whirlpool will strive to attain the greatest market coverage with the least number of brands.

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