20 Things You Didn’t Know About Bombardier

Bombardier Inc. is a large Canadian aerospace and transportation company with a history that spans eight decades. This company predominantly manufactures regional airliners, business jets, and mass transportation equipment. However, they also have several other business interests. As this is one of the largest multinational companies in the aerospace industry and it has been around for such a long time, it is a company that most people have heard of at some point. Despite knowing the name, most people actually know very little about Bombardier Inc., but would find it interesting to learn more about this company. Here are 20 things that you probably didn’t know about Bombardier Inc.

1. They Were Founded in 1942

Bombardier Inc. has a long and interesting history as it was founded in 1942 by Joseph-Armand Bombardier. At that time, the company was called L’Auto-Neige Bombardier Limitee, which translates as Bombardier Snow Car Limited. Bombardier was a mechanic who wanted to build vehicles that would float on snow and had many ideas he wanted to bring to the market. He started his business in premises at Valcourt in the Eastern Townships of Quebec.

2. They Originally Focused on Vehicles for Snow

Although the company is now known for designing and manufacturing a wide range of vehicles, including trains and airplanes, the initial focus of the company was solely on vehicles for the snow. Bombardier had already been designing such vehicles since the mid-1930s, so he had a lot of experience in this field when he established his business. He had already sold 12 of his snowmobiles since 1937. The first vehicles he built were large vehicles for carrying multiple passengers over the snow during the wint4er months.

3. There is a Bombardier Museum

Bombardier Inc. has its own museum which is simply called Bombardier Museum. This attraction is devoted to the life of Joseph-Armand Bombardier and the impact he had on the aerospace and transportation industries. It also highlights the history of the snowmobile. This museum was opened in 1971 in Valcourt, Quebec. Since 1990, there have been many substantial renovations to the building. Some of the exhibits include designs, related books, a garage factory, and a wide range of SKI-DOO models.

4. They Began Making Snow Ploughs in 1948

Throughout the history of the company, they have faced a number of challenges and setbacks but have faced these head-on by adapting their product line to overcome these problems and meet the changing needs of their potential customers. When the Canadian government passed a new law that related to keeping the roads clear of snow, Bombardier Inc. saw a significant drop in their sales. To overcome this problem, they began manufacturing snow ploughs in 1948. These were initially intended for clearing sidewalks. However, Joseph-Armand Bombardier then diversified the range to include similar vehicles that could be used in the mining, forestry, and oil businesses.

5. The First Lightweight Snow Mobile was Sold in 1959

In the early years of his business, Bombardier designed vehicles that would carry multiple people across the snow. However, his dream was to create a lightweight snowmobile that was designed for just one or two people. He began designing these in the early 1950s. This was a project he was working on with his eldest son Germain. Finally, their very first lightweight snowmobile went on sale in 1959.

6. The Ski-Doo was Intended to Replace the Dogsled

Ski-Doo remains one of the most important products in the recreational division of Bombardier Inc. but Ski-Doo was not the original intended name. It was actually called the Ski-Dog and Bombardier had intended for it to be a practical vehicle that could potentially replace the dogsled. His target market were trappers and hunters who had previously conducted their activities using a dogsled. Bombardier hoped that his creation would provide a more efficient solution for them to get around in the snow. The reason it is called the Ski-Doo rather than the Ski-Dog is because when the prototypes were being made, the painter misread the word and painted ‘Ski-Doo on the side of the vehicle by mistake.

7. Laurent Beaudoin Became President at the Age of 27

Joseph-Armand Bombardier died from cancer at the age of 56 on February 18, 1964. He had left his company to his sons to run. At first, his eldest son Germain became the president of the company. However, in 1966, he decided to pass the company over to his brother-in-law Laurent Beaudoin. At that time, Beaudoin was only 27 years of age, which many believed was too young to take on the position of presidency. He was supported by a team of talented managers that were also very young. In fact, most of them were under 30. Despite the age of those running the company, this was one of its most commercially successful periods. Laurent Beaudoin took Bombardier Inc. public in 1969 as he intended to use the profits from doing so to vertically integrate the company. He also used the cash to acquire new companies, such as Lohnerwerke GmbH, an Austrian company that specialized in the tram and train industries.

8. They Acquired Canadair in 1986

Canadair was an aircraft manufacturing company that was owned by the Canadian government. During the mid-1980s, this company was suffering financially and had recorded the greatest corporate loss in Canadian history. Bombardier acquired this company in 1986. This was the beginnings of the Bombardier Aerospace division, which later also acquired Learjet, Short Brothers, and de Havilland Canada. This section of the company has since become one of its most important divisions.

9. Their Most Popular Line of Aircraft Includes the Q400 and the CRJ

Bombardier Aerospace has many successful lines of aircraft, the sales of which have contributed to this division becoming the most financially successful at Bombardier Inc. Of all the lines, the most successful aircraft is the Bombardier Q400. This has been ordered by airlines from across the globe and is considered a high-quality form of transportation. One of the most significant sales of this particular aircraft was to SpiceJet, an Indian airline. This company made an initial order for 25 of the Q400 with an option to purchase a further 25. The sale value of 50 Q400 aircrafts totaled in excess of $1.7 billion. However, Bombardier Aerospace were willing to offer SpiceJet a discount for such a big order.

10. Learjet is a Subsidiary of Bombardier

Learjet Is one of the subsidiaries of Bombardier Aerospace. This means that even though the company was acquired by Bombardier Inc. in 1990, they still operate under their own marque as they are a well-established brand, but are also marketed as part of the Bombardier Learjet Family. In the past, this company has used the motto ‘We Move People’. In 2012, they changed their slogan to ‘Evolution of Mobility’. Learjet manufacture business jets that are intended for both civilian and military use. Their headquarters and the base for their operations is located in Wichita, Kansas, which is an area well-known for its aerospace industries.

11. They Were Once a Major Canadian Defence Contractor

In the past, Bombardier Inc. and the Bombardier Aerospace division were a major contractor for Canadian defence. They supplied the Canadian military with a wide range of military vehicles, including automobiles and airplanes. They also supplied them with parts and equipment. However, when the company restructured, they sold of the majority of the military-related work to other Canadian companies. This included the Military Aviation Services division of Bombardier Aerospace as this was sold to SPAR Aerospace. As they were moving away from non-aviation defence products, the Urban Transportation Development Corporation division of Bombardier Inc. also ceased operations. This company had been responsible for manufacturing their land-based defence products.

12. They Have Built Double Decker Buses

Bombardier Inc. is probably best-known for their snowmobiles and aircraft. However, they have manufactured a selection of other transportation vehicles throughout their history and this has included buses. They designed and manufactured a line of single and double-decker buses at their facilities in Ireland between 1980 and 1983. Some of these buses remained in service until 2000.Any remaining examples are now on display at the National Transport Museum of Ireland, which is located in Howth, County Dublin.

13. They Also Sell Financial Services

Over the years, Bombardier Inc. has diversified its business interests and one way in which it has done this is to develop a financial services division. This division was created in 1973 and called Bombardier Capital. They were based in Colchester, Vermont, and offered a range of financial services, such as asset-management, loans, and leasing. They stopped taking on new customers in 2001 and then the division was sold to GE Commercial Finance in 2005.

14. Roski is a Former Division of Bombardier Inc.

Roski is a former division of Bombardier Inc. that was created in 1963 by Joseph-Armand Bombardier. This company specializes in producing molded parts from composite materials. Bombardier began this division so that they could make their parts for the SKI-DOO assembly line. Roski Ltd. was one of the four divisions of Bombardier Inc. that were acquired in 1982 by Normand Carpentier and Michel Lasalle. They changed the focus of Roski to the production of parts for watercraft decks and hulls. The company also developed RSM, which is a robot-based technology. Four company managers then acquire Roski in 2013 and it became Roski Composites.

15. They Built the Volkswagen Type 183 Iltis for the Canadian Forces

Occasionally, Bombardier Inc. has ventured into other fields of design and manufacturing other than snow vehicles and airplanes. One example of this is the Volkswagen Type 183, which is better known simply as the Iltis, that replaced the Volkswagen Type 181. This is a military vehicle that was designed by Volkswagen, who also built these vehicles for use by the German Army. In Canada, Bombardier also built these vehicles under license’ They manufactured 2,500 of these military vehicles for the Canadian Forces and 2,673 for the Belgian Army. Several vehicles were also produced that were exported to Oman and Cameroon. Bombardier Inc. produced these vehicles between 1984 and 1988.

16. Bombardier Aerospace Currently Produces Seven Business Jets and Two Commercial Jets

At this time, Bombardier Aerospace produces just seven business jets and two commercial jets. Their line of business jets includes the Learjet 40 XR, the Learjet 45 XR, the Learjet 70/75, the Bombardier Challenger 300, the Bombardier Challenger 600 series 605, the Bombardier Global Express XRS/5000/6000 and the Bombardier Global 7000/8000. The latter was launched in 2010 but will not be introduced until 2018 or 2019. Their two commercial jets are the Bombardier CRJ700 series 900/1000 and the Bombardier CSeries. The former carries between 70 and 100 passengers while the latter carries between 100 and 160.

17. Bombardier Aerospace Now Only Produce One Military Aircraft

In the past, Bombardier were famous for producing military aircraft. Now, they produce just one military aircraft. This is the Short Tucano that is produced at the company’s Belfast facilities. It is a two-seat turboprop basic trainer that is mainly operated by the Royal Air Force in the United Kingdom. However, they are also exported to Kuwait and Kenya.

18. Bombardier Aerospace Has Facilities in Five Countries

Bombardier Inc. is a multinational company and their Bombardier Aerospace division has facilities in five countries. In Canada, they have two facilities in Montreal, one in Downsview, one in Toronto, and one in Quebec. They also have facilities in Mexico, Morocco, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Development of this particular model began in 1984.

19. They Formed a Collaboration with Comac

In 2011, Bombardier Aerospace began a collaboration with Comac, also known as the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China. This collaboration began as an attempt to break the duopoly of Boeing and Airbus in the aerospace industry. They created a framework for an agreement that involved the companies developing a long-term strategic cooperation on commercial aircraft. The aircraft that are produced by Bombardier that are covered by the programme are the Bombardier CRJ-Series, the Bombardier CSeries, and the Bombardier Q-Series. The aircrafts produced by Comac that are covered by the agreement are the Comac ARJ21 and the Comac C919.

20. Bombardier Aerospace Accounts for Half of Bombardier Inc.’s Revenue

Bombardier Aerospace is the largest division of Bombardier Inc. in terms of its commercial value. In fact, this division accounts for half of the revenue of Bombardier Inc. In 2015, this division of the company had a total revenue of $11.2 billion.


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