• Sep 3, 2008
HUMMER, a brand that has seen its sales drop by a shocking 40% so far this year, is apparently burning an SUV-sized hole in General Motors' pocket. Main money-man at the biggest American automaker, Fritz Henderson, says that GM wold like to rid itself of the brand as quickly as possible, saying that its sale is being approached "on an urgent basis." The time frame given was by the end of this year or early 2009 for a completed transaction. So, who would want the brand that represents wretched American excess? We have no idea, but it seems that somebody does as Henderson reiterated that the General's been approached by multiple suitors. Interestingly, these comments were made in India, a country that had previously been rumored to have two separate bidders for the HUMMER brand. Considering the growing sentiment for small cars in the U.S., it wouldn't be surprising to see HUMMER sold to a company that does most of its business outside America.

[Source: Reuters via Hummer Guy, photo by Grant McDonald | CC2.0]


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  • 33 Comments
      You don\'t know me...
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm in the market to buy a car, as the lease is ending on my current vehicle. I went and looked at the H3 Alpha's last Saturday and was considering buying one at the end of this month due to the employee pricing, cash back, and 0% financing being offered. I'm glad I found this article, no f'ing way would I buy a vehicle that could soon be owned by a company in India!!! Nothing against foregin cars, I own a Nissan now, not going to India!!! Sorry to ramble, but I am so tired of hearing about the Prius, the cost of the vehicle outways the gas benefit until you've owned the Prius for 5 years. I've never even owned a vehicle for more than 4!
      • 6 Years Ago
      HUMMER is just the tip of GM's cash burn iceberg.

      Sold or not it will make no difference to the bottom line of such a poorly managed company.

      HUMMER is one of the best examples of how GM can take a unique and strong brand and absolutely run it into the ground. GM has had a lot of practice as they have pretty much destroyed all their own brands too.

      It's really a shame.
      • 6 Years Ago
      GM is doing what it needs to do to SURVIVE. That is what we are looking at. When your core products (Chevy) are struggling as bad as they are, then you need to place your focus there. If and/or when GM gets their feet back under them and have Chevy pointed down the correct path, then they can play with fad brands like Hummer - but I don't see that happening soon.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Dumb move, and a knee-jerk reaction. Hummer is too iconic to sell.
        • 6 Years Ago
        What Silver said - negative brand image around Hummer is huge.

        Having a well recognized brand doesn't mean it leaves positive impressions on consumers....
        • 6 Years Ago
        +1.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I completely agree with JOHN... The H3 is an amazing off-road vehicle... you can climb almost any driveway in the city.

        People are not buying $50k hummers for off-roading, they were buying $50k Hummers b/c the bank said they could afford a $49K vehicle.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yes, dumb move. Hummer has great brand awareness and is an exceptional off road vehicle.

        I get sick and tired of all the high and mighty self righteousness people spouting off about the evil Hummer. Sorry, some of us don't want to eat granola and drive a Prius.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Iconic in all the wrong ways.

        The world is changing.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Unless HUMMER can make a fun 5-seater that looks like that concept they recently showed. It would have to be between 3700-4000lbs... have a cool off-road style interior... and a LS3 with 380hp and 450lb-ft torque... now that would be a way more fun and efficient car for off-road buffs and young people to drive around in. It's really sad knowing GM can pull that off no problem, they really wouldn't because it would be way too expensive to engineer a whole new platform just for that right now :(

      Although they should just stop producting the current lineup instead of selling the name. When the times are better for GM, they always have a name that is already known for off-road perfomance to go back to.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Ummmm

        What is H3T?

        4-door 5-seater modest size (although quite tall, it's dimensional footprint is smaller than full size)

        It has a V8 option.

        I wouldn't mind a smaller HX concept type vehicle, as well.

        Hummer has been big in the past, but isn't defined by it. It is defined by a para-military style, and versatility regardless of size. Gee... I wonder why Wrangler is still styled like a 1940s Jeep...

        Hummers don't have to be big, if they are a newer, BETTER tool. Guys love cool new tools, even small practical ones. I know I do. Some people need to carry a tool belt, some people only need a multi-tool or just a good pocket knife.

        IF Tool belts are big SUVs and super-duty trucks, Multi-tools are things like Ridgeline/SportTrac/H3T, or a little swiss army knife like a Wrangler or something.

        Let Chevy/GMC (commercial) handle the tool belts. Let Hummer be more of a tactical style folding pocket knife, or a multi-tool for regular people to use, but is easier to "carry" everyday.

        Selling it off is a knee jerk reaction, rather than a true innovation and re-vitalization.

        Too many companies, and from the perrenial "just shut it down" comments around here, too many people are far too willing to dispense with things that still have value, but need a bit of elbow grease to re-fit.

        The expectation of immutable sustained growth at all times is a false one, just as instant gratification is. Market downturns happen. Sometimes things require sustained effort, and some hard thinking and figuring to get things right... But giving up, rather than doing it, is rarely a good answer.

        Shuffling off Hummer's brand equity is short sighted, and foolish. Using the exising equity, and existing structure to renovate the genre of small to moderate utility vehicles is easier than abandoning it, and then trying to re-capture it later.

        Utility and practicality are not going ANYWHERE, and people will always buy vehicles for those purposes. But you have to sell them good tools. The fashion-plate buyers are fading out, that should give Hummer a good opportunity to re-focus on core competencies, and get back to innovation at it's core.

        An H2 that is just a cramped-up Yukon with a lift kit is a bit superfuous. Let the Yukon/Suburban do that. Let the Escalade be the bling-option. The H2 is redundant as it stands. Make it a better tool, not just a different shaped one.

        The H3 is going to be where it is at, especially the H3T.

        I hope they build enough of those before whatever happens happens, so that I can find a good used one in a few years. I don't currently have enough outdoor chores to warrant buying a new truck of any brand. but I can see myself with a used one sometime down the road.



        It has a more versatile bed than the sport trac, and probably on par with the Ridgeline, and others.


      • 6 Years Ago
      I'll start the bidding at $5. I might be willing to go as high as $8.
      • 6 Years Ago
      It may be knee-jerk, but GM's finances require knee-jerk right about now.

      The biggest problem is that Hummer's brand image has taken a huge hit, it is now a symbol of gass guzzlin' American excess. It really doesn't have to be.

      Perhaps instead of being associated with 'big and tough', it could be re-spun as simply just 'tough'. What Hummer originally represented to me was basically a tougher Jeep. The single-digit MPG thing came afterward (even though they did develop a smaller more fuel-efficient model.)

      I mean, at least there's no Hummer Compass!
        • 6 Years Ago
        I always kind of wondered why Hummer went the way it did. Obviously, for a while it rode on the tails of the bling crowd and the soccer mom crowd. I would have much rather it had gone to the industrial side. Had GMC and Hummer blended into one brand with a tagline of "serious trucks, serious toys" we could have been looking at a smaller run of Hummer Sierras and moderate sales of a Wrangler competitor instead of the firesale of the brand.
      • 6 Years Ago
      All you armchair auto exec's don't seem to understand GM's problem.

      GM Needs CASH. Period. Not an icon, not brand recognition, not fuel efficient cars, and not better products. CASH. They are bleeding cash profusely, and that is the ONLY thing that will help them now. If it's not going to raise immediate cash, forget about it. They aren't going to spend hundereds of millions money revamping an SUV brand that's in the toilet. No matter how easy you might think it is, the fact is, they simply DON'T have the money to do it.

      A $50,000 car can easily be had for ~$800 per month with nothing down. Not cheap, but certainly with-in reach of your average American suburbanite with recent lending standards. The same people who are now 30% underwater on their house and commute 40 miles one way to work, IF they still have a job. H2's get about 9MPG real world. I'd say gas prices have a LOT to do with it.
      • 6 Years Ago
      But, then what will neo-hippies burn at burning man?
        • 6 Years Ago
        they'll just have to fry their brains.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Arabs and Russkies...
      • 6 Years Ago
      GM needs to hang tough with Hummer until Barry O'Bama becomes President. Barry will be coming up with the alternative fuel that will allow Hummers to run on "change" (based upon the talk is cheap fuel formula favored by Liberal Democrats).
        • 6 Years Ago
        Actually, I think they are running on a 90% change / 10% Hope mix. :)
      • 6 Years Ago
      They have to get rid of it now. They blew it.

      They could have had a valid competitor to Jeep, with all the off-road abilities and cachet and more. Instead, Hummer has facilitated GM's rep for producing "gas-guzzling" vehicles.

      Too bad, another missed opportunity for GM.
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