Out, damned spot: Indian washing machines spiced up with ‘curry’ button

Out, damned spot: Indian washing machines spiced up with ‘curry’ button
A new line of Panasonic washing machines for the Indian market will include a special mode to tackle curry stains. Priced at about $330, the washer with the innovative option costs around ten percent more than other models.

The Japanese firm explained the machine is specially designed for India, following complaints from customers who struggled to get food stains off their clothes fully.

It took two years for Panasonic to test combinations of water temperature and water flow. The company analyzed the ingredients of curry and identified the optimal water strength and the washing time required to remove the stains.

The washing machine has five other cycles aimed at the Indian consumer, including one to remove traces of hair oil.

Panasonic told the BBC that about 5,000 machines had been sold so far, and it aims to sell at least 30,000 by March next year.

While only about ten percent of homes in India have a washing machine as most people are still doing their laundry by hand, there’s plenty of room for market growth.

Panasonic entered the Indian market in 1990 and hoped the new India-focused product will challenge the South Korean manufacturers dominating the sector. It plans similar machines for other Asian markets, tackling stains specific to those countries.

Data from British research firm Euromonitor shows that Panasonic products accounted for only two percent of all washing machines sold in India last year. Market leader LG Electronics accounted for 24 percent, followed by Samsung Electronics with 20.1 percent.

Panasonic initially started its business in India producing rice cookers and then expanding its line to manufacture air conditioners.

Last year, the company announced it would set up a factory in the north Indian state of Haryana to make refrigerators.