The Garage reported earlier today that the deal to sell Hummer to Tengzhong had fallen through, and General Motors has started to shut down the brand. While this is an official nail in the coffin for Hummer, the reality is this is a brand that has been in decline for some time. In the short history of Hummer, this was a brand whose star shone too brightly for it last long-term. Circumstances beyond Hummer’s control would conspire against them. Click continue for a walk down Hummer’s death row.
The HUMMER brand came to life when Arnold “Terminator” Schwarzenegger convinced the military arm of GM to convert a battle truck into a daily driver for him. The brand became an icon with guys all over North America. A symbol of everything guy. You too can be tough like Arnold, or at least your ride can be.
Then, as the greenies began to take over the world and the world economy went for a massive dive, HUMMER became an icon of excess. HUMMER owners were shunned by their neighbors. Other drivers made rude hand gestures in passing. As the US and Ontario governments took over ownership of General Motors, the HUMMER brand went up for sale.
After a year of back and forth negotiations, General Motors announced this afternoon that the sale of HUMMER to Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machines can not be completed. This means that GM will begin an “orderly wind-down of the HUMMER operations.”
Like Pontiac, HUMMER warranties will continue to be honored through the GM dealer network and parts will continue to be supplied.
While the greenies will likely be feeling rather smug following this news, there are thousands of families who will be impacted as Mom and or Dad have just lost their job.
It was early June this year when news broke that GM had accepted an offer from Chinese manufacturer Tengzhong. Since then, no news has been forthcoming, but there were rumors swirling that the Chinese government could block the sale. A little over four months later, the Hummer brand has been sold, with a minor wrinkle: Tengzhong will own 80% of Hummer, while a private investor will own the remaining 20%. Approval from US and Chinese regulatory agencies are the last hurdle. [Read more…]
It was a whirlwind of a news day surrounding Hummer today, starting with word the brand was sold, that it would be to an unnamed Chinese company, then the name of the company (Tengzhong), and finally a joint statement from GM and Tengzhong themselves.Ã‚Â
Here is what we know about the near-term future of Hummer. First, if all goes to plan, the sale should close by the end of September. The senior management and operation team of Hummer will remain, and existing dealer agreements will continue to be honored by Tengzhong. Hummer headquarters will remain in the United States. Hummer is also expected to enter into a “long-term contract agreement with GM for assembly, component and materials.” In other words, even once the sale is complete, the Hummer H2 and H3 will continue to be built, at least for now. AM General builds the H2, but the H3 shares factory space with the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon pickup trucks.
Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co., Ltd. is best know in China for manufacturing road, construction and energy industry equipment, so Hummer Ã‚Â will be the company’s first foray into the manufacture and sale of passenger vehicles. While Hummer is estimated to be worth around $500 million, it is not known how much Tengzhong is paying.Ã‚Â
GM has reportedly sold their Hummer brand to Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Ltd. The reported price tag is around 500 million.
Without a doubt the biggest news from GM today was that Pontiac would be phased out, but there are other points worth mentioning here. GM confirmed that the “resolution” of Saab, Saturn and Hummer will be decided by the end of 2009 at the latest. To recap, Saab has filed with the Swedish government to reorganize itself while it seeks investors. Saab’s intent is to function as an independent company. With Saturn, the brand and its dealer network is essentially for sale. It’s speculated an Indian or Chinese manufacturer could buy in to take advantage of a ready to go dealer network. If a buyer doesn’t materialize Saturn’s current cars will run out their life cycle. Hummer is still on the market, but again, if no buyer is found, we’re looking at another shutdown.
A constant criticism of GM, in addition to having too many brands, has been having too many dealers. In 2008, GM had a total of 6,246 active dealers. GM now proposes that they will have 3,605 dealers by the end of 2010-that’s 500 fewer dealers and a full four years sooner than initially planned. In speaking with The Garage founder Gary Grant on the subject, his position is that dealers who have invested in their brand with up to date showrooms and facilities stand a good chance of staying. I agree-GM will be looking very carefully on a town to town basis, and the dealer who looks like he’s a living relic from Kurt Russell’s “Used Cars” won’t be long for this world. Expect to see the biggest cuts in heavily populated metropolitan areas.
The 2009 edition of Dakar is set to wrap up tomorrow, and while Robby Gordon is still shown in 3rd place things aren’t looking good for the American favorite. Yesterday Gordon finished a disappointing 16th on the stage thanks to a rock stuck in the throttle linkage. It appears that more problems have hit the Monster Hummer, as they are showing in 23rd place today but still clinging to that podium spot.
A couple of days ago, the Boston Globe published a big gallery of absolutely stunning images from Dakar. The battle royale between enthusiasts and tree huggers in the comments section is almost as fun as the photos!
While we’re really just happy to have daily Dakar updates every evening on TV, most of us here in The Garage are really rooting for American anti-hero Robby Gordon. People can say what they want about Robby, but he truly is a racer’s racer who just wants to win in anything he drives.
At the end of day 1, I think we all were a little sad to read that he had only finished in 17th position. Watching the video after the break however, puts a bit of a different spin on things. Basically, Gordon scared the crap out of himself and a quad rider and is now driving with his brain. This is a good thing! Having seen some in car footage on the OLN coverage, I’m amazed that some riders haven’t been squished. The dust is incredibly thing and hangs in the air forever meaning that drivers can’t see a darned thing.
Fortunately, today’s standings show that Robby G is whittling away at his time deficit and has moved up to 9th position overall. This is despite a couple of left rear wheel failures caused by extended periods of 120 mph plus hammering across the countryside.
Check out the first video from Team Dakar USA after the break
Things have been rather quiet here in The Garage these days, as we all attempt to actually be part of our families over the holidays. Fortunately for all of us, there are 542 rally crews who eat, sleep and breath Dakar!
The gigantic field of cars, bikes, atv’s and trucks left Buenos Aires this morning to begin a 6000 kilometer loop that will bring them back to Buenos Aires on January 17th.
This is the first time the Dakar has happened off the African continent. To give you an idea of how brutal the route must be, only 421 crews have finished the first stage!
We’ll try to keep our readers up to date as much as possible. Today, we have a lead up video from Robby Gordon and Team Dakar USA. Gordon finished the day in 17th place out of 168 cars.
Regular readers may recall that we loved the look of the H3 last year. While we were impressed with it’s interior and off road capability, the lack of usable space made it less than inviting for a busy family life. The folks at Hummer knew that was somewhat of a limitation, so they did what came naturally; They added a bunch of utility and kept the rugged good looks.
The 2009 Hummer H3T began rolling off the production line on the Friday before this year’s IMPA Test Days and we had the chance to get the new pickup dirty on the Wednesday. Talk about trial by
See how the H3T handles the muck after the break