Diamond Service Delays

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rdrobson
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Diamond Service Delays

Post by rdrobson » Thu Aug 15, 2019 10:10 pm

I'm working on my second year with my DA62 right now and I can report that I am not happy with Diamond after sale service. I flew my aircraft to London for its annual assuming those guys should know how to get it done better than anyone as well as resolve a few warranty issues. I was happy with the work itself, but the aircraft was down for 38 days.

The annual was done at 250 hours and it didn't take me long to get to 300 where it was due for an oil change as well as some other engine checks that are done at 100 hours. However, at 300 hours you also need to check the torsional vibration dampers (TVD) and my local shop figured it would be quicker and cheaper to send those parts back to London instead of buying or renting the required tool. After delivery, London sat on them for over two weeks for what they told me was about a 2 hour job! The parts are finally home but now it will be until mid week before the a/c is back in one piece. The shop probably has to find where they stashed it to get it out of the way while waiting for London. It now looks like this work will have taken about 35 days if the schedule holds. :scream: :scream:
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AndrewM
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Re: Diamond Service Delays

Post by AndrewM » Fri Aug 16, 2019 1:58 pm

For the costs of a new plane, this is unacceptable on so many levels. What is a new DA62... $1.5m+? Diamond service should be treating you guys like Gold Class customers, and ensuring accelerated priority service for parts and so on.

I am kind of curious as to whether the new Diamond CEO is ever going to communicate his new vision, priorities, what owners can expect and so on. I am really happy in the DA40 right now, absolutely awesome plane. But... there will come a time when I will want something that can carry more, goes a little faster and has FIKI. The next logical step is a DA42, or the DA50 or a Cirrus. Hearing stuff like this, especially from someone who has purchased a brand new top-of-the-line plane, is feedback that Diamond should be jumping on...
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Re: Diamond Service Delays

Post by Colin » Sat Aug 17, 2019 4:17 pm

All of the discussion of what Diamond should do ignores how they will make their new owners the most money.

They could close down all the North American and European sales and just go build airplanes in China for the next four decades and they'd be fine. Explain to me how making one DA62 owner (or the two dozen DA62 owners) in North America happy helps them with their new owners vision for China?

China will need thousands of pilots in the next few decades. So they will need to train them. So they will need TAAs and multi-engine trainers. Diamond can own that market if they move quickly enough over there. (It's a complicated issue, since the airspace is all military and government controlled, but change is going to happen there. Whoever is ready with their feet on the ground at the right time is going to make a fortune.)

(I believe that there is something for the new owners to learn from the existing fleet, from the existing vocal owners, and having processes in place for tracking, maintenance, and upgrades could help the China fleet as it builds up. But these are long-range vision sort of strategies and commitments.)
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Re: Diamond Service Delays

Post by ZAV » Sat Aug 17, 2019 7:41 pm

If that’s their strategy then seems like a good reason not to buy a new one. Let that 1.5 million help another company succeed.
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Re: Diamond Service Delays

Post by Boatguy » Sun Aug 18, 2019 12:00 am

Colin wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 4:17 pm
All of the discussion of what Diamond should do ignores how they will make their new owners the most money.

They could close down all the North American and European sales and just go build airplanes in China for the next four decades and they'd be fine. Explain to me how making one DA62 owner (or the two dozen DA62 owners) in North America happy helps them with their new owners vision for China?

China will need thousands of pilots in the next few decades. So they will need to train them. So they will need TAAs and multi-engine trainers. Diamond can own that market if they move quickly enough over there. (It's a complicated issue, since the airspace is all military and government controlled, but change is going to happen there. Whoever is ready with their feet on the ground at the right time is going to make a fortune.)

(I believe that there is something for the new owners to learn from the existing fleet, from the existing vocal owners, and having processes in place for tracking, maintenance, and upgrades could help the China fleet as it builds up. But these are long-range vision sort of strategies and commitments.)
I don't believe Wanfeng has a vision for China, I think they have a vision for Wanfeng. They are not government owned and while like all Chinese companies they exist and thrive at the pleasure of the government, they are trying to make money for their owners. So your question is on point, but I think the assertion that they can rely on their domestic market is flawed.

By contrast to Wanfeng, Cirrus and Continental are both owned by China Aviation Industry General Aircraft which is effectively the Chinese Government. CAIGA manufactures a number of different aircraft, including joint ventures with Cessna for the 208 and Citation XLS. They have owned Cirrus since 2011. The point is that Cirrus' owners, the Chinese government, have not sacrificed Cirrus's global business to meet Chinese domestic objectives. Under the management of the Chinese government, Cirrus is clearly a better company today, for both its owners and its customers, than it was in 2011.

If the Chinese government needs trainers, they have sources other than Wanfeng / DAI. That's not to say that Wanfeng doesn't have a market opportunity in China, but it most certainly does not have an opportunity to "own the market" unless the Chinese government decides to give it to them.

Wanfeng has 4,000 of it's 12,000 employees outside China and announced just six months ago it was trying to hire 200 more at DAI. If they weren't interested in growing their business outside China, why hire more people and invest more money? They could have shut down Canada and used Austria as an R&D and manufacturing base for China until they acquired the technology they wanted, then shut it down too. They have not done that.

While I don't believe they are executing very well, I do believe Wanfeng wants to be successful, and profitable, as an international supplier of aircraft. The gap between execution and their stated global aspirations is the issue.

So to your original question "Why service DA62 customers", the answer is that the DA62s have higher gross margins and are the flagship product of DAI. If nobody wants the flagship, or it's perceived as being of inferior quality, DAI's growth prospects for Wanfeng are limited.

I know several Diamond owners who would like nothing better than to be management consultants to DAI and help them straighten out their operation. They are doing the difficult things well (designed some great airplanes) and the simple things very poorly (communicating with customers). But I don't think there is any reason to confuse their poor execution with a lack of aspiration or ambition in the "outside of China" market.
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