Cessna CJ3+ will sell well, but do not rely on the “new aircraft effect” to drive sales


The Cessna CJ3+ will be a success but the mythical “new aircraft effect” does not mean this will happen quickly.
Cessna Citation CJ3+

Cessna Citation CJ3+

It makes sense that manufacturers only invest in new aircraft that they think will sell. They clearly tend to launch new aircraft when they think that the market for that aircraft is going to grow.

Yesterday Cessna announced the launch of its CJ3+ – an upgraded CJ3 with new avionics and a new interior. It may seem nothing to get too excited about, but like the CJ2+ it will sell well.

Some brokers were sceptical about CJ2+, but Cessna has delivered 224 CJ2+s since April 2006 – compared to 244 CJ2s. (Maybe it is time for Cessna to copy Sikorsky and launch the CJ2++ now.)
Cessna has delivered an impressive 410 CJ3s since 2004 so they can be confident about the CJ3+.

We are going to see the light jet market pick up pretty quickly, driven by the improving US economy – and this will help the CJ3+. But the launch of the CJ3+ itself cannot be used as evidence that this is happening.

Although there is talk of a “new aircraft effect” that drives sales it is important to remember that correlation does not imply causation. Some manufacturers are lucky or (as they would say) inspired and time launches right. Gulfstream did this with the G650 launching it in early (rather than late) 2008. The so-called new aircraft effect was really just evidence of a boom market.

It is worth remembering that the CJ3+ is the fifth model that Cessna has launched in this light jet downturn (we had the Latitude and M2 in 2011 and the Sovereign + and Longitude in 2012) without seeing sales rise. No doubt when models like the Latitude and Longitude start delivering sales will rise and we will hear talk of the new aircraft effect, but really it will just be the market.