Spread my wings and fly – I think NOT.
Honda’s recent announcement that they would team up with Piper Aircraft may be a suicide mission, waiting to happen. The decision by Honda to build a jet is a risky marketing ploy with strategic flaws. I question, very much, if this is a smart and strategic business move. Honda Corporation is a master at marketing, sales and distribution to your “everyday typical consumer.” To Honda’s credit, they are known for obtaining and achieving mass consumer appeal, identity and brand loyalty … all very valuable and extremely difficult to achieve in the world of business.
However, the people who will be buying small corporate jets are NOT the same consumers who have the bond with Honda. Heck, the decision to buy a corporate jet comes typically from the CEO or Chairman of a business, who typically is driving a much fancier car than anything Honda makes. Further, status, status, and more status (coupled with a high-end marketing ploy) is a HUGE determining factor as to whether a business decides to buy a plane or not. Taking it even one step further, there are companies who truly buy a corporate plane because it will help them be more efficient, close major transactions quicker, and secure more revenue if they (the executives) have a plane at their beck-and-call. But guess what, they still will be concerned with getting a “desirable” aircraft.
There is probably no greater status than owning a Bombardier Lear jet or a Gulfstream. Recently Bombardier celebrated the anniversary of its 300th Learjet 45 and 300th Learjet 60. Talk about tradition, brand awareness, and loyalty within the aviation circles. And in 2003, Gulfstream's G550 won the Robert J. Collier Trophy which was awarded for the greatest achievement in aeronautics in America, with respect to improving the performance, efficiency, and safety of air or space vehicles.
Further, as I hate to say, Piper is a poor mans airplane. Not to sound too snotty, but it’s just not considered in anyway, prestiges or elite. Good luck Honda and Piper!!!
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