GM surprises with Hummer announcementPublished 12:50am Saturday, February 27, 2010
By JESSICA SIEFF
Niles Daily Star
Life in the automobile industry has been an unpredictable one over the last few years, and based on GM’s announcement Wednesday that the plan to sell its Hummer brand vehicle to a China-based company had fallen through, it seems as though things are going to stay that way for the time being – unpredictable.
Scott Tyler of Tyler Automotive, the area’s only Hummer dealer, said previously about the future of the brand: “We are happy to report that GM is expected to finally complete its sale of Hummer this week to the Chinese firm Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co.
“Tengzhong’s willingness to purchase the brand and invest in the product line means Hummer’s future once again appears bright.”
That was in December. Just a little more than two months later, things are very different.
“One year ago, General Motors announced that we were going to divest Hummer, as part of focusing our efforts on Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac going forward,” John Smith, GM vice president of corporate planning and alliances, said Wednesday. “We have since considered a number of possibilities for Hummer along the way, and we are disappointed that the deal with Tengzhong could not be completed. GM will now work closely with Hummer employees, dealers and suppliers to wind down the business in an orderly and responsible manner.”
The automaker said it would continue to honor warranties for the vehicle “while providing service support and spare parts to current Hummer owners around the world.”
The impact made on dealers such as Tyler Automotive is still uncertain.
Tyler declined to speak with the Star about the news, saying only, “today GM is currently considering interest from several potential buyers.”
His comment insinuates the story is far from over, that there is still a possibility that the brand will continue to float down production lines and hold a commanding presence on roadways across the country.
But again, the world of the automotive industry has been relatively unpredictable as it has all but crashed over the last few years, crippling businesses who service the industry throughout the nation and creating a turbulent ground for auto dealers to stand on as some of them are only beginning to recover from lost licenses and emptier lots.
Tyler’s is no exception. On the same lot where the Hummer brand emblem dominates its showroom, Kia brand vehicles are adjusting to its new home, brought in after GM terminated its relationship with the deal – something Tyler said himself at the time was a bit of a surprise.
“In our case their decision was unfounded given our long standing record as a high performing GM dealership and one that has consistently excelled in every category they claimed to have included in their dealership evaluation criteria,” Tyler said in December, describing the company’s reaction to the news as “shocked.”
Whether or not GM is still keeping options for the Hummer brand vehicle is something the automaker isn’t currently alluding to. As far as its future goes? It’s anyone’s guess.