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A peek inside ABC’s ‘Made in America’ kitchen

Consumer Reports News: March 03, 2011 11:35 AM

When Anna and Jon Usry of Dallas agreed to let a team from ABC World News purge their home of all foreign-made products, they never imagined that they’d return to an empty house. There was nothing left but the kitchen sink. “All of our appliances are gone,” the Mom bemoaned. And so was the furniture. That night the Usry family ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and slept in sleeping bags. Even the dog lost its bed.

The next day six trucks pulled up in front of the house filled with products  “Made in America,” the name of the series. So of course we were curious to see which appliances would replace the mostly GE models that had been made elsewhere and carted away. The replacements were manufactured by Sub Zero, Wolf and Viking and two—the dishwasher and one of the wall ovens—showed up in our Ratings.

Tonight anchor Diane Sawyer promises to tell viewers how much everything cost. But we’ll tell you the prices for the two appliances listed on our website (as usual, we bought the test samples at retail). There are some variances between our prices and what ABC lists in its kitchen slideshow. Here’s where the appliances were made and how the two we tested measured up in our tests.

Made by: Viking of Greenwood, Mississippi
What ABC paid: $1,350 (Approx. retail price $1,189)
What we said: The Viking Professional VDB200[SS] was good in overall performance, had good wash performance, very good energy efficiency and was judged good for noise.

Wall oven
Made by: Viking of Greenwood, Mississippi
What ABC paid: $2,999 (Approx. retail price $2,900)
What we said: Overall, performance of the Viking Professional VES0130[SS] was very good. Broiling was excellent. Stainless steel gives this model a pro-style look.

Consumer Reports hasn’t tested the other five items. They include:

  • A $8,575 refrigerator made by Sub Zero of Madison, Wisconsin.
  • A $3,575 wall oven and a $500 microwave made by Wolf of Fitchburg, Wisconsin.
  • A $1,749 cooktop and a $799 range hood made by Viking of Greenwood, Mississippi.

As ABC and the Usrys discovered, it’s not easy to find out where every product is made. The  Federal Trade Commission doesn’t require manufacturers to list an appliance’s country of manufacture but its rules require that an item labeled as “Made in America” have all its significant parts and processing be of U.S. origin. If  the parts do not originate here, manufactures must use other labels like "Made in U.S.A of U.S. and imported parts" or “Assembled in U.S.A.”

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