Jay,, Just for discussion..
Yes, I agree, we want Vans to be around for a long time, and the kit plane biz has had many , many casualties... But..
Will simple improvements to vans current designs bring in new customers?
I dont think it would. (I could be wrong of course)
And..it appears the economy is coming back.. I supply industrial engines to manufacturers, and we have had an increase in 2017 like we have never had in the 23 years I have worked here. I realize that recreation aviation will come back slower that the base manufacturing in this country..but I think it will, and hopefully it will have an future effect on the aircraft market, which we all know is pretty well in the toilet.
With that being said, is it possible that stagnation/product offering in design will translate into degradation of market share? It usually does. When a leader of any market sits on its laurels with no new designs, it generally declines I think.
I sure hope Vans can remain lean enough, and efficient and keep going for a long time, but with no new designs, I dont think it can be as profitable as possible. New customers must be continually attracted to maintain, let alone increase. Obviously, it must be done with caution, not going too wild and risky and over-reaching. I think Vans has found the great combination of performance and affordability that hit the sweet spot in the market with the 7 and the 9, and the bulk of the builders market that is currently outside of Vans share, is in those that prefer High wing aircraft.
As I mentioned, I could be completely wrong too!
RV9A slider 0-320 carbed
Kitfox IV (SOLD)
Luscombe 8A (for sale)