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It looks like General Motors' deal to sell its Hummer brand to China's Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery is on shaky ground. According to Reuters, the likelihood that the Chinese government will give its approval to Tengzhong has been waning in recent weeks, leading the would-be purchasers to consider making the acquisition using an offshore investment vehicle to skirt the need for Chinese regulatory approval. GM and Tengzhong had originally set a January 31st deadline to complete the

As readily illustrated by the dramatic and protracted sale of Saab to Spyker – a process that itself is not yet concluded – it's clear that extracting brands from General Motors is a time-intensive process. No surprise, then, that GM and Chinese manufacturer Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery have reportedly decided to extend the deadline on a Hummer sale until month's end.

Cedric Glover, the mayor of Shreveport, Louisiana, went to Washington, D.C. to plead his case for the sale of Hummer to Tengzhong. The only thing is, we're not sure why he went. To be more precise, we do know that he wants to protect jobs at GM's Shreveport plant that builds Hummers. The plant has about 800 workers who build some of The General's pickup trucks and Hummer models, and the loss of The Big H would undoubtedly put people out of work.

2008 Hummer HX concept – Click above for high-res gallery

Hummer HX Concept - Click above for high-res image gallery

2008 Hummer HX concept - click above image for hi-res gallery

2008 Hummer HX Concept - Click above for high-res image gallery

Slowly clearing one obstacle after another, Tengzhong is closer to sealing the deal to buy Hummer from General Motors. Chinese reports have come almost completely around, from the nearly certain "No" of a few months ago to "the Chinese government has little to lose giving the green light."

Chinese National Radio recently reported that Tengzhong wouldn't be allowed to purchase Hummer due to environmental concerns. The company released a statement after that news broke saying that while there was no "definitive agreement," the CNR report wasn't based on facts from the government regulatory body in question, and Tengzhong is still working on the deal.

China's Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery, the company that recently surfaced as the top bidder for Hummer, is about to start talks with Chinese regulators to secure the deal. While General Motors has a tentative agreement with Tengzhong, the two companies have yet to receive the state's blessing, which is necessary for the sale to go through.

2008 Hummer H2 - Click above for high-res gallery

General Motors' potential sale of Hummer to Tengzhong is probably good news for those interested in seeing the company return to independent and profitable status as quickly as possible. The move should see enable GM to shed the negative political and social association of the star-crossed SUV brand and get some money in return. There is actually a better option, says The New York Times' Ethicist.

GM's potential sale of HUMMER to Tengzhong is probably good news for those interested in seeing the company return to independent and profitable status as quickly as possible (and also Rush Limbaugh). GM can shed the negative political association of the land monsters and get some money in return. There is actually a better option, says the New York Times' Ethicist.

General Motors' HUMMER division has long been the whipping boy of the environmental movement, and now even the Chinese government seems to be getting in on the act. Quoting Richard Wottrich, International Managing Director at investment banking firm Dresner Partners, the state-run Chinese media outlet Xinhua starts out a story on Tengzhong's bid to purchase the SUV maker from GM this way:

According to a report from Bloomberg, state-owned Chinese news agency Shanghai Securities News is predicting that it is unlikely the Chinese government will approve the purchase of Hummer from General Motors by Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co. Why? Apparently, China actually wants to reduce the number of automakers operating within its borders and favors keeping manufacturers with an eye towards fuel efficiency. Of all the labels people have put on the Hummer brand, fuel efficien