Whirlpool: In The Wringer

It's caught in Brazil's recession but is staying put

Rows of bright white washing machines and refrigerators cram into the G. Aronson appliance store in Sao Paulo. A few shoppers seem interested in the Brastemp washers made by Whirlpool Corp.'s local subsidiary. But with Brazil's economy nosediving and annual finance rates topping 100%, low-income workers are in no position to buy anything on credit. Jose Antonio da Silva, a 37-year-old maintenance worker, has given up hopes of buying a new $400 gas stove. "I'm afraid to pay over many months because you don't know if interest rates or inflation will rise again," he says. "It's too risky and too expensive."

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