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It is very obvious that the aircraft was up to Piper standards and would have been a success (or they never would have put their name on it). However, I would bet that someone at Imprimus told Piper Corp. to focus on the profit. And rightly so. With the development costs, and redesign/scale up of the Altaire to something with a wider market; and business aircraft sales set to recover before the rest of GA; and the profit in one Altaire equal to many SportCruiser sales; I am convinced it was decided that they would put the money where the return would be. That is a good business decision.
The SportCruiser seems very competitive in the marketplace; if they get a stronger dollar as an offshoot of the U.S. economic recovery (highly likely), they will have a larger profit margin, and the dealers will do very well indeed starting in 2012. I hope they all hang in there, I am confident that their patience will be rewarded.
I believe that the "divorce" will actually benefit both Piper and the new SportCruiser dealer group! Perhaps, in a show of good faith, Piper can/will "share" some details of how to run an aircraft sales, parts, and service company-after all, the split seemed to be promulgated by Piper's decision, and they DO know how to perform these functions already. The SportCruiser will not directly compete with any Piper product, so why not get along, knowing that with a good relationship, they may be able to move LSA pilots scaling up into Piper products. If handled adroitly, the split could be more than just amicable. It could also lead to a great business relationship that benefits all parties, here AND in the Czech Republic. SportCruiser customers in Europe could be steered toward Piper products also, and vice-versa for those who want to scale down to LSAs.
A win-win if played correctly. But I bet they already knew that.
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