11 April 2013

Hoover, Damned

The Hoover company's UK washing machine factory was established in Pentrebach, just south of Merthyr Tydfil, in 1948. Hoover's British division ran a disastrous promotional scheme in 1992, promising free airline tickets to the USA for customers spending over £100, far less than the cost of the tickets. It was overwhelmed by demand, tried to duck its contractual obligations, was sued in 1994, and by 1998 had lost some £50m on the deal. Candy took over.

The Merthyr plant, (in)famous for also manufacturing the Sinclair C5 - "Built by Hoover, driven by suckers" was a common joke - ceased production in 2009. Although the Hoover brand is very much alive and kicking, and hoovering synonymous with vacuuming despite the rise of Dyson (by whom Hoover were successfully sued for patent infringement), this was an ignominious end for the UK production operation.

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