With a proud South African heritage, major home appliances brand KIC has become an integral part of the country’s success story.
As the market leader in the local refrigeration space1, Whirlpool Corporation markets KIC in thirteen countries across southern Africa, shipping almost 800,000 appliances a year.
KIC opened its factory in the Isithebe district of KwaZulu-Natal in 1975. Since then, the plant has taken great strides in the continuous improvement of safety and social responsibility.
The Isithebe plant and KIC at large is committed to the ongoing investment in its greatest asset – its people. The plant features a training center for ongoing skills development and training and a medical clinic which was added in 2012 to provide Whirlpool’s people with on-site medical advice and treatment.
“In the early days many of the factory workers who lived in the surrounding areas did not have access to basic sanitation and adequate housing. Fast-forward to 2018 and it is clearly visible what the ripple effect of investment and innovation can do for a community which belongs to a place that matters” says Michele Caputo, Managing Director of Whirlpool South Africa – owners of the KIC brand.
The KIC brand has for a long time been a staple of South African homes. The manufacturing plant itself has helped the brand shape a lasting legacy of quality and affordability.
The Isithebe plant was a finalist in the KwaZulu-Natal Productivity Awards in 2016, a further testament to the great work being done here.
Furthermore, KIC came out tops in the 2017/2018 Ask Afrika Icon Brands Awards in the combined fridge/freezer category as well as the separate freezer category.
Building on these successes, KIC celebrates another milestone in March this year – with the launch of fourteen upgraded bottom mount fridges and two twin-tub washing machines set to revolutionize the entry point of the southern African home appliance market.
A notable investment in the expansion of the Isithebe plant saw new, large-scale production equipment imported from Europe and India that enables the production of new fridge doors and the local assembly of twin-tub washing machines – an initiative that helped to create an additional 100 jobs over the past two years.
The newly launched fridge range will be available in four stylish colours. New plastic interior baskets will take the hassle out of cleaning and a new flush water dispenser adds to the smooth, sleek new design. The range also promises the best value per liter in its class.
The products all feature movable balconies that will help optimize the use of space and boasts an A energy rating, and quieter operation at 41 dBa.
The new twin-tub washing machine range will make the process of doing laundry less arduous and more enjoyable. Available in a 9kg or 11kg model which features an auto slide drain that will prevent overflow, the new offering in the laundry category can wash and spin at the same time and offers a handy washing sorter on the lid.
“As we look to the future, KIC and Whirlpool remain committed to producing home appliances of superior quality – but more importantly we are excited and committed to play an ongoing role in the prosperity of southern Africa and its people” concludes Michele Caputo.