Hedging its bets - HUMMER dealer anticipates doom, pre-emptively downsizes

There's no official obituary for GM's HUMMER brand yet, but haters are lacing up their dancing shoes while lovers wring their hands. Dealers with HUMMER franchises have a lot of skin in the game, so the uncertain future is bound to give business officers ulcers. Not willing to wait around to the bitter end, Milwaukee's Bergstrom HUMMER is planning to move into the same space as the group's Chevrolet store. The HUMMER-specific Quonset hut style dealership building will be toned down and pressed into service as an outlet for Certified used GM vehicles. Other HUMMER dealers across the nation are staring down the same conundrum, being on the hook for that big, rugged showroom, test track, inventory, and staff, while the parent company looks to clamp off bleeders. Some might follow Bergstrom's lead and shove the big trucks into a corner of a showroom dominated by a more stable brand, while others are shipping inventory as fast as they can.

Moving product is a tremendous challenge when the bobbleheads on the nightly news continue shrilly about the price of fuel and you've got a lot full of low-mpg, high weight trucks that happen to be a favorite target of vandals euphemistically masquerading as "activists." Customers that do make it through the door are looking for deals, and HUMMER will spot you five thousand bucks to take an H3, PLEASE. Existing customers are looking to get out of their vehicles any way possible, even if it means a financial hit. The mass exodus isn't solely due to hysteria, when it costs over $100 to fill the fuel tank, it chafes to watch the fuel gauge's precipitously quick drop toward "E." Retail issues aside, HUMMER still offers capable vehicles with a high level of style. If you've got a boat to pull, and want to look like the Governator, an H2 could still be just the thing, and now you'll be able to find one for a song; most likely the blues.

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[Source: Inside Line]

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