CHINESE appliance manufacturing giant Haier is to re-enter the UK air conditioning market with a direct presence from February 2009.
Haier's initial joint venture into the UK closed in 2006. The firm said that with 'its service and product reliability issues now resolved, Haier is committed to re-launching its brand into the UK and reversing any damage to its reputation within the industry'.
'We're sending a clear challenge to the competition, and we fully intend to upset the status quo,' said Christian Weavers, the sales director heading up the new Haier UK and Ireland team.
Weavers previously worked in a contracting sales post for Denco and later held manufacturing sales management positions with Toshiba and a Hitachi distributorship.
Also in the team is technical manager Peter Francis who worked as an installation /contracting manager for Denco.
Weavers said 'We're under no illusions as to the scale of the task ahead. We're aware that product reliability and the closure in 2006 of Haier's initial UK joint venture left many of our customers with an unacceptable lack of support'.
'Our first priority is to rebuild trust by resolving service and backup issues with our former joint venture clients. We'll be honouring all outstanding warranties.
Haier now has a warehouse in the South East, stocked with spares for existing equipment. London and Nottingham-based contractors will cover areas for technical support and service.
Weavers said 'Our contractors have been trained on Haier equipment and have full back-up from the Haier team.
'We're installing systems, incorporating our entire range, at locations around the UK to be used as case studies, and to demonstrate product reliability'.
Haier systems now operate on R410A DC inverter technology. The majority of compressors in Haier systems are now manufactured by Daikin, Mitsubishi or Hitachi.
The company is opening an engineer training centre in Wickford, Essex, which it expects will be fully operational by the end of this year. The training centre will have installed Split, Multi-split and VRF systems.
'We've no intention of penetrating into the UK market until confidence is established and potential clients are fully satisfied that Haier represents a cost-effective alternative', said Weavers.