Back in 1999, the General Aviation piston-engine market was ready for innovation. And, the Klapmeier brothers barnstormed the industry with it to become the dominate leaders. Cirrus by design, has segmented a high-end niche market away from its competitors. The 2018 GAMA report makes it clear to see if you categorize piston-engine shipments.
In business parlance it’s called market segmentation. All piston sales are not the same. Piper sales do not compete with Light Sport Aircraft (LSA). Cessna sales don’t compete with taildragger shipments. These are very different customer markets within piston-engine airplane sales. And, a feature doesn’t create market segmentation. Segmentation is not achieved with a claim to “the fastest piston engine plane.”
The 2018 GAMA report shows Cirrus Aircraft won half of the traditional “four-seat” airplane sales. Cirrus has successfully separated their airplanes from the competition.
2018 Piston Single-Engine Shipments
|Cirrus SR22 & SR20||380||49%|
|Piper Archer & Arrrow||114||15%|
|Piper Malibu Mirage||20||3%|
|Cessna Skyhawk & Skylane||160||21%|
|Cessna Turbo Stationair||32||4%|
|Mooney Ovation & Acclaim||14||2%|
|Total Single-Engine Piston Shipments||954||–|
Cirrus has defined new airspace for single-engine competition. Again, this year, hundreds of people are willing to stand in line for a new Cirrus piston-engine airplane and pay $1.0 million dollars each. Why? Has the pursuit of relentless innovation delivered that much product differentiation for Cirrus customers?
In many ways, the piston-engine market is still ready for innovation. Archaic components remain and need to be upgraded. The market could very well be successfully segmented again or new markets might emerge – how about Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) aircraft. Who will be the next visionary to step forward?
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