BUSINESS
05/10/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Demand For Gulfstream's New Jet ($59 MILLION) Surging Past Expectations

Gas prices may be rising, car sales may be falling, but sales of top-end private jets are surging.

According to a Gulfstream spokesman, demand for the company's new G650 -- the largest Gulfstream yet -- has far outstripped early supply. The company has received around 500 letters of inquiry, which include $500,000 deposits from prospective buyers. That's about equal to the total number of G4's ever sold -- over the past 20 years. Gulfstream, a unit of General Dynamics, sold about 193 of the hot-selling G5 before it moved to the next model.

"Nobody thought in their wildest dreams we would get this kind of response," said Gulfstream spokesman Robert Baugnier.

And that's caused an unexpected problem for the company: angry billionaires who are being told they have to wait until 2020 or later for a plane.The G650 doesn't start rolling off the production line until 2012, and the company will ramp up production to full capacity (about 45 planes a year) in 2014. The company is also considering doubling capacity in 2014 if demand remains strong and it can get supplies.

The company says that some of the customers who sent in deposits are being told they won't get a plane until 2021 or later.

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