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LG Aiming High, Despite Stiff 2021 Headwinds

Jan. 5, 2021
New air-conditioning technolgies chief is keeping expectations in check, but Steve Scarbrough still foresees strong growth in duct-free and VRF systems later this year.

By STEVEN R. SCARBROUGH, Senior Vice President, LG Air Conditioning Technologies

Now that 2021 has begun, it’s unlikely to expect a complete reset from 2020. While I’m hopeful that a strong recovery in the residential market can be expected, I believe it’s overly optimistic to think the industry will immediately rebound and return to a double-digit growth trajectory.

As I am still relatively new to LG, I am convinced now more than ever that our success for the future is fairly simple. I like to refer to it as the “Four P’s” – our Products, our Partners, our People and our Performance.

The effects of the ongoing pandemic will continue to create uncertainty in the market, particularly in the first half of the year, and it will continue to prove challenging to forecast what resources will be needed to support growth. What that means for LG is we are doubling down on our commitment to provide the best tools, training and support to our partners, and being nimble and flexible in a world of changing needs—in order to drive success and growth in 2021.

As we look ahead, I do anticipate the continuation of strong growth in duct-free and VRF, as it’s still outpacing traditional solutions in our industry. The residential ductless business continues to see record growth throughout critical parts of the country, and as an industry, we are seeing significant rebates and incentives for duct-free split systems, primarily in the Northeast and West Coast markets, where incentives run as high as $1,500 a ton.

The commercial business is facing some stiff head winds, as growth of the applied side of the commercial business has slowed due to the pandemic. My hope, however, is to utilize my strong background in duct-free split system sales to build on the success that LG has achieved over the years, despite the abrupt hurdles brought on by the pandemic.

We are aiming high for 2021, and I’m optimistic that LG will reach its goals, especially as VRF technology continues to gain momentum. We’ve been in a great position on that front for some time now, with innovative solutions like our award-winning Multi V lineup, growing that market share with double-digit growth year over year.


Based in Alpharetta, GA,, the author was named SVP and General Manager of LG Air Conditioning Technologies last August when he joined the company. Prior to that, Scarbrough had been a Vice President at Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC US, where he had served since 2010. LG Electronics U.S.A. is the North American subsidiary of LG Electronics Inc., a $53-billion global force and technology leader in consumer electronics, mobile communications, home appliances and air solutions. For more, visit