A revolutionary new Aga cooker, which is on when you need it and off when you don’t, is being tipped by its makers as a breakthrough product that will see global and domestic sales soar.
The Aga Total Control features a touch screen control panel and the ability to control its three ovens and two hotplates independently or together.
Leamington-based Aga Rangemaster chief executive William McGrath described its creation as an “Eureka moment” in the company’s history.
Mr McGrath says the new electric cooker puts an end to the biggest criticism of Agas – a lack of flexibility – and “keeps the romance but wraps it up in a 21st century package”.
“It’s a redefinition of the product and we have great hopes for it.” he said. “We did a lot of market testing asking what people wanted. People were saying that what they really needed was an Aga that was on when needed and could be turned off when not.
Mr McGrath says the new Aga, built at the company’s Telford factory, utilises independent cast-iron ovens, each with their own electric element rather than just one heat source, a development he branded the “Eureka moment”.
“This is the big one and should represent a sea change in increasing the size of the target market – not only in the UK but internationally too,” he said.
Aga went electric in 2004 and 60 per cent of its sales are electric cookers.
“We sat down and thought ‘‘where does Aga go next’’ which led to the development of electric products, then programmable and now this, where the oven element is embedded in cast iron,” added Mr McGrath.
The result is a product which can be timed to come on 20 minutes before someone comes home, or a single part of it such as the roasting oven.
Another key feature of the latest Aga is cheap running costs, with the company estimating it could be used for all a family’s cooking needs at a cost of around £5 per week.
“This is aimed at a contemporary audience where a family might be out a lot, or for a country home used at the weekend – anyone who needs a greater degree of flexibility will find this more attractive,” said Mr McGrath.
“It can also be a product that not only does the cooking better but keeps the house warm too.
“This is the breakthrough product for Aga and a great example of British engineering.”
It is hoped the new stove will see Aga and Rayburn cookers return to annual pre-recession sales figure of around 19,500.
“Sales have slipped to around 12,000 and the aim is to get back to 19,000,” Mr McGrath said.
He believes the new product’s versatility should allow Aga Rangemaster to take advantage of new markets, particularly in the US, where Mr McGrath says there is high awareness of the brand but sales have traditionally been slow.
He said: “Aga is a brand with international recognition and this is a contemporary product.We have spent money and been working hard on developing the export market, particularly in North America.
“We have brand recognition in the US and a number of dealers who have Agas in their showrooms but it was always seen as a complicated product because it needed to be built in your home and someone had to come and maintain it.
"We needed this product to break out of doing ‘okay’. I think it has got every chance of competing in and engaging with the wider markets.”
The new Aga costs £9,600, a £600 premium over the standard electric model.