RECARO Aircraft Seating's colorful chart with the pictures of all 6 seat versions. R1,R2,R3,R4,R5,R7

Recaro renames product range to R1-7 numbers… with R8 on the way?


HAMBURG — Farewell to the long-standing joke about whether a new Recaro seat model number matched the one for your old Nokia phone — the German seatmaker is rebranding its entire range to a new set of ‘R number’ model names from the two-letters-four-numbers product codes like CL3710 it has used for many years.

The new names, Recaro says, “reflect the various classes and complexities of the seating solutions,” ranging from R1 to R7, starting with the most barebones economy and moving through to fully flat business mini-suite. They are:

  • R1: fixed backrest slimline SL3710 (short/medium-range, Economy class)
  • R2: reclining slimline BL3710 (short/medium-range, Economy class)
  • R3: fully featured CL3810 (medium/long-range, Economy class)
  • R4: recliner PL3810 (Premium class — typically widebody premium economy recliner)
  • R5: recliner CL4710 (Business class — typically narrowbody US domestic first/business class elsewhere recliner)
  • R7: suite CL6720 (fully flat Business class)

Runway Girl Network spoke to Recaro Aircraft Seating chief executive officer Dr. Mark Hiller in advance of the announcement, who tells us that “the target for the project is that we want to have a clear hierarchy between the product names, and also more simplified. We also want to make it more enjoyable as a concept for the parties involved, and also a good and strong connection to our strong, strong brand.”

Hiller noted that one of the issues with the two-letters-four-numbers six-character names is that the seatmaker would build up substantial brand equity with a particular seat — its CL3710 fully featured economy seat, for example — only to then see a familiarity setback as it released a generational improvement (in this case, the CL3810).

The plan for that generational change still seems fluid, with Hiller suggesting that the R-number will stay the same, but perhaps with a temporary tag around the year number or as the “new” product.

“If you look into other industries, how is it done there?” Hiller muses. “On one side, they’re using a release year, for example. We might add, then ‘new generation’, or ‘new’ or something like that. You could also see from, for example, Airbus or Boeing, ‘neo’ or something like that. For sure, we would just use it for the introduction, to give it a specific, I would say, focus, but in the long run, we would stick to our to the existing name.”


Recaro also plans to sunset the rest of its line, such as the CL6710 non-doored business class that débuted with TAP Air Portugal, as part of this product line move. Bespoke products that the company develops on an exclusive basis for airlines, meanwhile, will not receive an R-number.

For its quick-turn, low-customisation economy shipset programme SPRINT, which uses the BL3530 slimline that is not getting an R-number, Recaro will continue to use the two-letters-four-numbers code for the present.

“We will not change the names there, and over the next months and years they will more or less disappear,” Hiller says. “We are using the [BL]3530 for the time being there as the seat model, and we will not change the name there until we have replaced more or less the product for the SPRINT concept.”

This product will then move to the R2 platform, presently BL3710.

Hiller tells us that Recaro began working on renaming its product line in 2018-19, but that the project was then delayed by the pandemic. One thing that Recaro will miss about the rather arcane two-letters-four-numbers system, however, is that it served as something of a shibboleth code to reveal expertise when talking with CEOs to see whether the boss really understood the detail of the seat product.

“Whenever even a CEO of an airline remembered that and asked me about the CL3710 or they said, ‘oh, let’s talk about the BL and the SL 3710’, and about the details — and they’ve been very clear about the numbers — I knew they are very much in the details and they are very much into the product,” Hiller says. “So assuming that R1 to R8 — or 7 — is more simple to recognise, and to memorise, it will be a little bit more difficult for me to figure out if there is a real interest in our product or not.”

Rendering of Recaro's R7 seat in an aircraft cabin.

R7 is at the top of the Recaro product line… though is R8 on the way? Image: Recaro

Hiller’s correction from “R8 — or 7” was an interesting coda to our discussion. Is there, perhaps, a new product at the top of the Recaro product tree to be unveiled soon, perhaps even at this year’s AIX?

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Featured image credited to Recaro Aircraft Seating