Aviation industry analyst Brian Foley said this week he's hoping to organize a counteroffer from U.S. investors that would tempt Cirrus Aircraft to change its mind about its recent sale to China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co. Foley told AVweb on Wednesday that when he published a report last week about China's recent investment in U.S. general aviation companies (PDF), he got an "overwhelming response" from e-mails and online comments that suggested to him that the U.S. aviation community "wants this company [Cirrus] to be owned and operated on American soil, period." Foley also told AVweb that he had contacted Cirrus officials about his plan to find alternative investors but so far had not had any response. Cirrus spokesman Todd Simmons told AVweb on Wednesday, "We have no comment at this point."
Foley said he believes that better marketing of Cirrus Aircraft's need for fresh investment could make a difference, especially if the effort is made to find "a pool of investors" rather than a single buyer. "Assuming this falls into place, we're confident we can identify and combine enough qualified investors who value Cirrus' promise as a distinctively American company," Foley said in a news release (PDF). "Cirrus is an American success story that started in a humble dairy barn, introduced important new technologies and rocketed to market leadership," he said. "So it's not surprising that our U.S. aviation community would take an interest in this pending sale. But what surprised me was the speed, passion and near-unanimity of the feedback we received. I didn't talk to anyone who wanted to see Cirrus shipped overseas." Cirrus said last month that while the company may expand into China in the future, there are no plans to abandon the current facilities in Minnesota and North Dakota.