BREAKING: HUMMER may die, 4 GM plants to close, Volt approved for production

Gas prices in excess of $4 a gallon and a collapsing market for new home construction is triggering General Motors to undertake yet another round of restructuring and plant closings. The latest victim of the rapidly changing American automotive marketplace may be perpetual green whipping boy, the HUMMER brand. General Motors has just begun a strategic review of HUMMER. Ahead of today's annual meeting GM CEO Rick Wagoner has revealed that the HUMMER could either be strengthened or disposed of going forward. GM Spokesperson Joanne Krell told us that HUMMER's lineup could be strengthened, the brand could go the way of Oldsmobile, or it may be sold "in whole or in part." "The HUMMER brand is a great brand and we're probably not maximizing it to its fullest. Perhaps somebody else would have that opportunity." GM has only just begun the review and has informed employees but no time frame has been set for completion. GM hasn't talked to any potential buyers yet, but it's not clear who would want to buy HUMMER among major automakers.

In other news from GM, the company will move beyond the already announced shift eliminations at truck plants and close four factories. The closures of the truck plants in Janesville, Wisconsin; Oshawa, Ontario; Moraine, Ohio; and Toluca, Mexico will occur by 2010, affecting 10,000 workers. Workers at those plants who are not taking advantage of the current round of buyouts will be offered transfers to other plants where available.

It's not all gloom and down down at the Tubes though. Wagoner revealed that the board of directors has approved two programs for the production. The new compact Chevrolet sedan we talked about yesterday, has been approved for a 2009 launch at the Lordstown Ohio plant and the Chevy Volt has been approved for a 2010 launch in Detroit. Thanks to Craig and Matthew for the tips!

[Sources: Chicago Tribune, General Motors]

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