Hummer HX concept - click above for high-res image gallery
As a brand, Hummer has been in limbo since General Motors announced it was selling the downtrodden marque to China's Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co. Ltd. Speculation remains that the sale could be completed on or around December 1, pending approval from GM and the Chinese government. For now, everything is on hold, though Tengzhong and new Hummer CEO Jim Taylor are apparently still working hard to plan Hummer's future.
First on the "Honey Do" list is to arrest the free-fall of Hummer sales. Right now, sales are down 64% on the year to about 8,500 units, but Hummer is looking for 25,000 sales in 2010. That will be a tough nut to crack, but Automotive News reports that the company optimistically plans to get things done in part with some aggressive marketing. Ultimately, however, new product will be needed to get dealerships buzzing with customers again. In the meantime, Hummer's 154 U.S. dealers need more inventory in the showrooms to help move metal. AN says that dealers only have 1,300 units in stock, compared to the 7,400 vehicles at the same time in 2008.
The last piece of the Hummer reclamation project is adding those new models. When Tengzhong gets the keys to the Hummer kingdom, it will also receive engineering plans for the H4, a new smaller model that is reportedly based on the HX Concept from the 2008 Detroit Auto Show. Taylor reportedly told AN that Hummer's Jeep Wrangler fighter could arrive within three years. Also possible is an even smaller Hummer H5, which would help the SUV automaker to meet future CAFE requirements. Taylor even goes as far as to say that the smaller H4 and H5 could one day replace the brand's heavier and thirstier H2 and H3 mainstays. The next big challenge for Hummer once the sale becomes final is to find a manufacturing partner to build these vehicles. GM will reportedly cease building Hummer models as early as the end of 2010.
Related GalleryDetroit 2008: HUMMER HX Concept
[Source: Automotive News – subs req'd]