Contemporary. Compact frame. Optimal ergonomic access. Shock absorbers. Not exactly how you’d describe a washer and dryer. But those words, usually reserved for the latest car or vehicle, can be found in the description of the Duet Sport System by Whirlpool.

And it’s not just a marketing ploy. The company deliberately looked towards the automotive industry to help it develop its products to appeal to buyers emotionally, something the car industry has been doing for years.

[More after the jump]
"It's the industry that has tied design to sex appeal probably more than any other industry that we've seen," says Joe Foster, Whirlpool brand director of fabric care. Whirlpool has studied the techniques by General Motors Corp., Ford Motors Co., and Toyota Motor Corp. Three of the four-member team that designed the newest Duet Sport System have experience in automotive manufacturing (e.g., Paul Hurley, who worked for the auto parts maker Johnson Controls, Inc.)

So now, like in car development, Whirlpool designers are working closely with the engineering and marketing departments at the beginning of a product’s lifecycle rather that later (i.e., after the product has been built, it's being sold to vendors and now needs to look good).

Personally, we’re waiting for a HEMI version of the Duet.

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