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Who Bought Hummer? Now We Know.

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By Kevin Fayle on June 02, 2009 12:48 PM

Could it be?  Is Hummer moving to China? 

Yes, that quintessentially American vehicle - the lane-straddling, gas-guzzling Hummer - will soon be owned by a Chinese machinery company, according to a report by CNBC.

If the deal does in fact go down, it will constitute the first purchase of a major American car brand by a Chinese company.
The Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Company Ltd. currently manufactures a wide range of road equipment such as highway construction and maintenance machinery, but it has recently begun making heavy-duty trucks.

The deal still has to receive approval from the Chinese authorities.  While the company is privately owned, Beijing still has the final say over the purchase of a foreign company by a Chinese business.

According to the terms of the deal announced today (which did not name the buyer), GM will continue to manufacture the Hummer for Sichuan Tengzhong, which will then sell the vehicles worldwide.  GM stated that the deal would save 3,000 jobs, and emphasized that it will keep Hummer in the US.

That's likely to be a major sticking point.  While Hummer has become the albatross around GM's neck and symbolic of the US automaker's misguided reliance on large, inefficient vehicles, it attracts its customers by appealing to a sense of patriotism.  After all, the first Hummer was modeled after the military transport vehicle that became famous during the first Gulf War.

The ownership of the Hummer brand by a Chinese company may ruffle the feathers of American owners.  Hummer spokesman Nick Richards said that Sichuan Tengzhong has "capital to invest in more efficient vehicles," however, which indicates that the new owners may be looking to modify the brand somewhat.

Which may be just what Hummer needs.  Sales fell 51 percent last year, and the number is down an additional 67 percent so far in 2009.

See Also:

Expert Insight on Business Laws of China (FindLaw's Strategist)

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