The takeover of Cirrus by China's CAIGA will pave the way for the US airframer to accelerate product development and expand its portfolio of general aviation aircraft, said company president Brent Wouters at the Aero Freidrichshafen show.
He dismissed the "small number" of critics who have opposed the sale. "Nobody raised any objection when we were taken over by a Bahraini company in 2001," he said. "This anti-Chinese sentiment is completely unfounded. This is a terrific opportunity for Cirrus to develop new products, accelerate development of existing products, grow around the world and strengthen the balance sheet."
He stressed that "Cirrus will remain in the USA. Only when the Chinese market accounts for a significant portion of our sales will we consider building a second assembly line in China to complement the Duluth operation. The 'made in the China' brand is not as valuable as 'made in the USA'," he added.
The sale should be completed by the end of July. "We will then have the capital to step up work on the SF50 Vision personal jet for which we have around 430 orders," Wouters said.
Throughout the economic downturn Cirrus has "invested the precious few dollars" it possessed in the Vision and other undisclosed products in its "dream book", said Wouters. "The Vision is a key focus," he admitted.
With 350 flight hours clocked - averaging 3.5h a week - and Cirrus is in the midst of parachute testing the aircraft. "Once the investment is there we hope to bring the aircraft to market within three years," said Wouters.
Aero 11 also marked the European debut of its limited-edition SR22 piston single, of which only 10 will be built. "The $795,000 aircraft is a commemorative edition to mark the SR22's tenth anniversary," said Wouters.
The aircraft has a number of unique features including anniversary paint scheme.
Source: Flight International