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30 May 2006

100% suckers all the time

Dyson's motto is "100% suction all the time" or "The vacuum that doesn't lose suction".

The consumers' association's verdict in the June 2006 Which?, however, is:

It is bad news for Dyson as for the seventh year in a row it has come bottom of our reliability survey for upright cleaners. This year a scary 31% of Dyson vacs up to six years old needed a repair

More serious is the fact that Dysons are also prone to breakdowns because of problems with power and suction - nearly twice as many as other cleaners, in fact.

Dyson. The cleaner that doesn't lose suction. Well, except when it has a problem with suction. Or power. Also, except when it's broken down, and also except when it's been chucked in the bin as ours was earlier in the year. Ours lost suction when the intake of the barrel started to get filled up with dust (even though the barrel was nearly empty).

The respondents of the Which? survey indicate that Dyson has over 50% of the vacuum cleaner market. Are we 100% suckers all of the time, ready to shell out for an expensive gimmick that is bottom of the table for reliability?

James Dyson was famous for the thousands of prototypes he went through before we got the vacuum with (ahem) no loss of suction (except when it's broken down, etc). Given the above, maybe it's time for a few more prototypes - for someone worth a few hundred million pounds, it's surprising someone with his intellect hasn't already sorted it. Maybe he's too busy writing another book on how to be a successful entrepreneur. Straight out of the Bill Gates school of success - build an unreliable product and with enough marketing you can dominate the market even though the quality (like emptying a Dyson into the bin and getting a face full of a dust cloud) leaves something to be desired.

If you manage to fix the reliability issue, maybe the next autobiography could be James Dyson: Against the odds, discovering the reliable vacuum cleaner.
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