Qu’est-ce qui a cloché chez Bombardier? À peu près tout.
How the grand strategy of one of Canada’s most storied manufacturers lost so much altitude is a tale of misreading the determination of its competitors, falling in love with its own product and failing to grasp the way sales momentum is built in introducing a new plane. Bad timing hurt, too.
Bombardier has won 243 firm orders for the new jet—none in the last 16 months—as most of the big global carriers have taken a pass so far. As of late January, Bombardier’s order book included 14 airline and leasing customers—only two of which, Germany’s Deutsche Lufthansa AG and Korean Air Lines, rank among the world’s biggest.
The orders are 57 short of a goal to have 300 firm commitments by the time the C Series enters service for Swiss International Air Lines in the first half of this year. By contrast, Airbus had 4,471 orders at the end of December for its re-engined A320neo family, which competes with the C Series and was launched two years later.
The C Series program is more than two years late and about $2 billion over budget. Development costs have led to five years of net cash burn, and shares are trading below C$1 for the first time in 25 years. The stock plunge has erased about C$33 billion in market value since 2000, lowering it to about C$2 billion.