Cessna understands the old wisdom that when you reduce the price, you appeal to new buyers, and when you add performance, old customers upgrade. The new Citation M2 demonstrates that seriously good things happen when you can do both. The story starts back to 2009—only two years after the first customer delivery of the Citation Mustang at a time when hype over the VLJ market was winding down. That was the year that Cessna first encountered stiff competition from the entry-level Phenom 100. With performance numbers closer to the CJ1+ and a price tag about $1 million dollars less than the CJ1+, the new Phenom quickly ate into a market niche long dominated by Cessna. The result wasn’t hard to understand. CJ1+ sales plummeted, and in 2011, the CJ1+ quietly disappeared from the Cessna sales brochures. At the same time, there was lively speculation among Mustang owners about how Cessna might create an upgrade path for the Mustang. Some favored an upgrade to the Mustang design with a higher-speed wing, more powerful engines and maybe a stretched fuselage. Others argued that a better option was to somehow revamp the popular time-tested CJ design to add a bit more speed and new avionics. We’ll never know how the discussion went inside of Cessna, but with its slightly larger airframe, the CJ1+ was well suited to recapturing market share and won out as a way to bridge the Mustang and CJ product lines. The primary goals were to pull at least $1 million out of the price and to increase performance while creating a clear upgrade path for existing Mustang owners. That meant controlling costs by minimizing unnecessary changes to the airframe. It wasn’t easy, but Cessna nailed it, and the result is an airplane worthy of a whole new name: the Citation M2.
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