Honest opinions about how to buy Appliances and Lighting.

Friday, January 28, 2011

A Big Mistake

The introduction of the Maytag Neptune was the biggest mistake in the history of this industry. It was on the forefront of front-loading, energy-saving technology. It was even marketed properly and was introduced at Radio City in New York.

Only problem was a 60% fail rate. That they didn't address the issue was the real tipping point for consumers depending on their heritage of reliability. Four years later, Maytag ceased to exist as an independent company with thousands of jobs lost in Iowa.

Flash forward 10 years, Bosch has recently announced that they will no longer be in the laundry business.

Unlike Maytag, this is a great machine marketed and distributed poorly. They cited competition from the Korean companies as the reason. Currently, at $549, their machine sells for $100-250 cheaper with much better reliability. The real reason may very well be Bosch's lack of market penetration in box stores, especially Sears. Thus, they cannot derive volume needed to maintain a factory.

So, do you as a consumer knowingly buy a machine which will be discontinued in 2011? Only if it is good and cheap...and right now Bosch is both.


  1. Sure... The Maytag Neptune had some issues when it was launched but it was the first residential front load washing machine. Is it a reasonable assumption that you can expect some issues with a brand new product in a brand new industry?

    It may not totally be about the reliability issues but more important... How the company responds to the issues when they crop up. I talk with some Neptune owners who love their machine because they have not had any trouble until 10 -13 years later when their door latch wax motor finally failed and damaged the Q6 R11 on the machine control board or the motor drive system finally quits working.

    I've also talked to Neptune owners that say they will never buy another Maytag anything because of how they handled the reliability issues.

    There was a class action lawsuit around 2005 and when it was settled it seems that Maytag felt they were no longer responsible to Neptune owners because they paid the settlement, case closed.

    Maybe this is a case where the class action hurt the Neptune owners in the long run? I still talk to Neptune owners that knew nothing about the class action and their machine has failed now. They call Maytag (Whirlpool now) and they won't help them because the class action was settled...

    I've helped Neptune owners repair their machines by offering repair kits for the Q6 R11 and wax motor failure. See http://www.neptunehelp.com for details.

    Another failure starting to happen is that as the Neptune's age the bearings and seal need replaced. The machine will get real loud in the high speed spin cycle and it sounds like a jet taking off. You can replace your bearings and save a lot of cash. If you bother the repairman he will quote around $900 to replace the large outer tub. See http://www.neptunebearing.com for more information. You can even rent a special tool kit that comes with an instructional DVD...

    Finally... The Whirlpool Duet and Kenmore Elite front loaders are now needing bearings, too... So it is not just a Maytag thing when it comes to the bearings and seal reliability. Perhaps water and bearings do not mix and more engineering needs to be done to keep them separated?

    Until next time...

  2. Ok, Jeff....It is reasonable to assume that new machines may need some extra repair. In the software industry, mistakes are called "bugs" and are corrected with new relaeases over the internet

    A 60-75% failure rate of the Neptune is not acceptable in any industry, Jeff. Appliances also can't be fixed over the internet

    In the long run, the Neptune destroyed a 100 year heritage of dependability as well as incinerating hundreds of millions in shareholder value