NORMAN, OK — For contractors and suppliers looking for an hvac equipment brand with strong consumer recognition, this must be welcome news.

Stuart R. Amos, York Unitary Products president, said the company will replace its Coleman®Evcon brand name with the original “Coleman” name on its line of residential (including manufactured housing) and light commercial hvac products.

York bought the Coleman®Evcon name and product line in the mid-1990s, several years after the brand name was spun off.

The original Coleman logo will be revived and put on hvac products, which move through separate distribution channels from the York and Luxaire lines.

Brand recognition

The stand-alone Coleman name, which is nearly a century old, is one of the most recognized brand names in America, said Amos. Coleman celebrates its centennial next year.

He cited a recent study showing that the name is known by 67% of Americans, and is the top seller in many product categories, such as campers, cook stoves, coolers, and canoes.

Since buying the name and business, York has bulked up the Coleman product offering with a light commercial rooftop line (up to 10 tons), as well as a high-efficiency furnace line and air conditioning line.

The company has also refined its line of units for manufactured housing, which represents 50% of the Coleman output.

Incentive plans

York will tie in this product array as part of its incentive programs to its dealers and distributors, Amos said.

This results from a strategic alliance with Sunbeam Corp., which owns a majority of Coleman Corp. The deal includes a joint advertising and promotion campaign with Coleman Corp., which begins this week.

“Our dealers once again have the opportunity to sell and install a brand that is known worldwide,” said Matt Peterson, vice president of sales and marketing.

The brand name went through a transition when Wichita, KS-based Coleman Corp. spun off its hvac line a decade ago. For many years, the brand dominated the mobile home and manufactured housing industry, earning a reputation for packing a lot of capacity into a very small product.

About 20 years ago, Coleman made a run at the conventional housing market with a top-price line that included its 15-SEER “T.H.E.” heat pump. During a period in which traditional hvac brand names were being retired or moved from one manufacturer to another, the entry of a new player excited a lot of attention.

However, despite its legendary name recognition, the brand did not get a big market share.

With the spin-off, new management was unable to buy the unadorned name, whose value is considerable. As part of the deal, management added “Evcon” to the name, which many observers thought, diluted its recognition.

In the latest transaction, York was able to buy the name without any dilution, said Amos.