The Bizjet Manufacturers’ “numbers game”…and Gulfstream’s much-anticipated new ultra-longe-range bizjet offering
New models from Gulfstream, Bombardier, Falconjet, Textron and Embraer are joining the increasingly crowded bizjet model-designation line-up. At the NBAA-BACE bizjet show in Las Vegas (is that Spanish for ‘lost wages’ ?) this week, there will doubtless be at least a couple of ‘newbie’ bizjet entrants, hence our timely observations on the seemingly arcane OEM bizjet model numbering.
That said and to date, we seem to have a pretty unimaginative designation process that sort of defies logical sequencing and basically serves to confuse the layman bizjet-buyer. We can only imagine that Bombardier would not be disappointed if a would-be purchaser confused the mid-range Challenger CL 650 with the top-of-the-line Gulfstream G650.
So, let’s see what’s out there, (in no particular order); we have the Legacy 650, the Citation 650, the Challenger 650 and the Gulfstream G650…not to mention the slightly different ‘enumeration’ that spans approximately forty years of model confusion…the Bombardier CL 600, the Embraer Legacy 600 and the Gulfstream G600. Bombardier also ups-the-ante with its millenary Globals… 5000, 6000, 5500, 6500 and 7500, (née 7000).
We’re pretty sure that the ‘creative-types‘ in the respective OEM marketing departments should be able to conjure-up some appealing and appropriate names for these ‘numbers game’ aircraft. At least Textron has taken a respectable stab at the bizjet naming game with the Latitude, the Longitude and the Hemisphere…albeit the production of the latter is currently on hold, pending the resolution of a minor technical hitch…(ie., a suitable engine).
Embraer has also recently tip-toed into the naming game with its latest market offerings from Brazil…the Praetor 500 and the Praetor 600….clearly betting on the ‘hybrid’ approach to names. We show the origin of the word ‘Praetor’ meaning a ‘commander of an army’ in Roman times and we can only assume that this is a nod to the Embraer workforce, perhaps ?
At least the players in the SSBJ (supersonic bizjet) arena seem to be pondering bizjet names, long into the marketing department’s cocktail hour…Spike, Boom and Aerion might sound like names of your favorite pet, but they are all serious contenders for the future iterations of SSBJ’s.
There is some industry expectation that Gulfstream will announce it’s successor to the G650ER in Las Vegas. The next-generation model designation is probably not going to stray too far from the latest ‘numbers progression’….(hence we’re expecting the G700 or G750) However, we would highly recommend that Gulfstream takes note of the continued strength in the Asian market for the ultra-long-range category of bizjets. With that in mind, an appropriate designation would contain an “eight”, as in “Gulfstream G800”. Better still… nail down that lucky Asian number and call it the G880, or the G888 !
Incidentally, this suggested designation would be good an’ ready to parry the Global 8000, if and when Bombardier opts to resurrect the shorter fuselage, longer-range version of the (now) Global 7500.
Hopefully Gulfstream has at least learned from its earlier faux-pas in the Chinese marketplace with the Gulfstream G250 designation, (this aircraft itself was a modified IAI Galaxy design). After some months marketing the G250 to a largely unreceptive Chinese bizjet-buying audience, Gulfstream re-designated the G250 as the G280. This move has not exactly proved to be a blockbuster sales tactic, but at least it has cured an embarrassing cross-cultural mis-step.
According to a reliable source in our Shenzhen office, the simple Mandarin translation of “G250” is rendered, (in Chinese characters), as meaning “stupid person” (or very similar)…oops ! Apparently, no-one thought to mention this (clearly unintentional) cultural ineptitude to Gulfstream’s senior management…we all make mistakes.