Wanfeng Auto Holding Group of China has completed the acquisition of Diamond Aircraft Group and announced plans to expand production including researching, developing and designing new aircraft.
Wanfeng Chairman Bin Chen expressed enthusiasm in his commentary about future plans for Diamond, saying “We were attracted to Diamond’s leadership position in the market. Based on this excellent foundation, we intend to take Diamond to a long-term leadership position in worldwide general aviation.” Wanfeng is one of China’s largest companies. Few would argue that it has the resources to take Diamond to the next level.
Mr. Chen stated that the company will work to increase sales globally and place a greater emphasis on the U.S. marketplace. Last year, Wanfeng acquired a 60 percent share of Diamond’s Canadian operation. This week’s announcement did not mention the Canadian operation’s role in the new venture.
Ex-Chief Executive officer Christian Dries commented, “I look forward to seeing Diamond develop further and based on our successful year-long partnership in Diamond Canada, I am fully satisfied that I leave Diamond in very good hands.”
China’s expanding general aviation footprint
China has been expanding its aviation footprint. In 2013, for the first time a Chinese real estate development company, Meijing Group, acquired Mooney Aviation. Mooney had been manufacturing light aircraft until being forced to cease production in 2010. The investment from Meijing Group allowed Mooney to restart production at its plant in Kerrville, Texas.
China owns other aviation companies including plane maker Cirrus, Superior Air which makes aircraft components, Brantley and Enstrom helicopter manufacturers and engine manufacturer Continental.