What About HUMMER?
In many ways, the HUMMER was a vehicular icon for the U.S. in the last decades of the 20th century. Whether it was a vehicle that was a close kin to the equipment ferrying the U.S. military through the deserts of the Middle East or carrying soccer moms and their kids or a vehicle being piloted by Arnold Schwarzenegger—all were symbolic of the U.S. in their own ways.
While HUMMER has fallen from favor in many ways (2009 sales through August were just 7,767), I find it interesting that GM’s sale of the brand to Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co., Ltd., has caused no cries of outrage about selling this icon to the Chinese.
And why shut down Saturn and Pontiac and sell HUMMER and Saab? To be sure, there might have been concerns vis-à-vis how integrated Saturn and Pontiac are with the North American products and that HUMMER and Saab are comparative outliers, it does seem curious. Here’s a quote from Jim Taylor, HUMMER CEO, previously general manager of Cadillac, a brand he was instrumental in turning around thanks to his work on developing the first CTS: "We are fortunate to have a partner who understands and recognizes the importance of continuing investment in HUMMER's heritage as a U.S.-based and branded company with a view toward capitalizing on global opportunities. Backed by a privately owned and well-capitalized company, we are going to be able to focus on providing customers with more efficient models that deliver HUMMER's promise of authentic, purpose-built design and engineering."
Too bad GM doesn’t evidently value this “U.S.-based and branding company” and it “global opportunities.”