With little fanfare, Lycoming has dramatically rolled back prices on major engine parts, including crankcases and crankshafts. The price reductions on some parts are as much as 70 percent, according to the company, and have reset overhaul decisions for many owners who may have unserviceable cranks or cases. Heretofore, those replacement parts would have been drawn from the overhaul or repair pool and owners would have been charged accordingly. Now owners can opt for new crankcases and crankshafts at prices comparable to what they might have expected to pay for repaired parts.
Lycoming’s Steve Palmatier told us that the company routinely reviews production costs and selling prices on all of its parts and determined that it could boost parts sales by drastically reducing prices. One way they did this was to unbundle crankcase sales. The company once sold crankcases only as kits, which included such accessories as through bolts and spacers.
“A lot of shops don’t want those parts,” says Palmatier, so the company broke the package into discrete parts. Prices vary by part, but as an example, one case—an IO-360 with flat tappets—was dropped from $17,501.63 to $4979.65, a decrease of a whopping 72 percent.
These price decreases have already rippled through the industry. “Just overnight, the industry lost about a million dollars on that deal,” says L.J. Warren, president of Zephyr Aircraft Engines in Zephyr Hills, Florida. Many shops maintain inventory of repaired cases and crankshafts for Lycoming engines and now new parts sell for only a few hundred dollars more than the repaired parts do. Other shops told us owners who don’t have serviceable cases and cranks are opting for the new parts.
Could Lycoming’s price reductions portend 70 percent cheaper aircraft engines? Not likely, Palmatier said. The rollbacks apply only to select products. Although Continental’s purchase of ECI in 2015 changed the competitive landscape for Lycoming on many parts, the company says the price rollbacks were in response to internal cost and sales reviews. For a full report on this topic, see the April issue of our sister publication, Aviation Consumer.