Eclipse Buyers Bite the Price-increase Bullet
An Eclipse spokesman told AIN that "very few, if any" Eclipse 500 buyers asked to have their deposits refunded after learning of a price increase for the very light twinjet on May 11. In a letter to existing customers Eclipse president and CEO Vern Raburn wrote, "Unfortunately, we have now determined that it will cost us more to produce the Eclipse 500 than we anticipated in January 2003. For this reason...we must adjust the price of the Eclipse 500 for new customers by $120,000, from $1,175,000 to $1,295,000 (in June 2000 dollars). [This amount equals about $1,438,000 in 2005 dollars–Ed.] The adjustment for our original Platinum customers [those who placed orders on the first day] will be $45,000. All other customers will have an adjustment of $95,000." The spokesman said current orders are secured by deposit agreements, which allow for the increase. Customers won't sign a purchase agreement, which locks in the purchase price, until 180 days before delivery. Meanwhile, the three test Eclipse 500s have logged 105 hours over 87 flights. A fourth aircraft, N505EA, will join the fleet this month, and N506EA is also expected to fly late this or early next month. Certification is still on track for next March, according to the spokesman.