Following a report from Jalopnik, Autonews reports that GM is trying to unload Hummer-fast. Autonews quotes GM COO Fritz Henderson, during a visit to India, that he hopes for a sale by the end of this year, or early 2009. Claiming that there are several companies interested in Hummer, Henderson declined to mention any by name.
This news should hardly come as a surprise. Hummer’s downward spiral in sales has been well documented, and rumors have been flying that GM hoped to unload the brand. I concur with Jalopnik here; why the news broke from India is not quite clear.
I am no Hummer expert, but some research on Wikipedia shows some interesting facts-Hummer has 300 dealers, but just 174 in the US. Hummers are also produced in South Africa and Russia. My guess is that Hummer will likely be sold, but I am very skeptical that the buyer will be an American company. I would not hold it past GM to halt production altogether while it waits for a better offer if one does not come sooner than later.
Though few will disagree that Hummer ownership was, and is, the equivalent of sticking your middle finger to Mother Earth, even the most brazen product planner in the division had to wonder just how far the brand could be taken. The H1, a thinly disguised military HUMVEE for public consumption established AM General, and GM bought the rights to market and sell it as a Hummer. A toy for the wealthy, GM brought the brutish appeal of the H1 to a slightly more usable product in the H2.Ã‚Â
The H1 only sold in modest numbers due to its size and cost, but the H2 was initially a home run for Hummer. Not cheap, but within reach of the upper-middle class, the car was instantly a status symbol for anyone who wanted to drive what looked like a TONKA truck. And at the time, gas was still relatively affordable enough that it was OK if all you ever used your H2 for was a trip to the mall and back.Ã‚Â
GM, hungry to broaden Hummer’s appeal, and not being known when to stop, rolled out the H3. Built on the Chevy Colorado pick-up chassis, and saddled with a wheezy 5-cylinder engine, the H3 was destined to fail to live up to the promise of the Hummer name, despite its decent off-road prowess. For the same price, buyers had a tough time saying “no” to Explorer’s and Cherokee’s with V-8’s featuring more power, better ingress/egress, and better handling.
GM promoted Hummer heavily through leasing. I wonder if after 24, 36, or 48 months the novelty of this unique looking truck just wore off on those who were lured in to the showrooms initially. The fuel economy is plain awful. They are not enjoyable to drive on public roads. You know some of your neighbors hate you just by having one in your driveway. Yet, it should come as no surprise that GM hung its hat on Hummer’s continued success, thinking that cheap gas and good times would never come to and end…Hold on a sec, didn’t GM get into serious trouble before when they were bent on that mentality?