Each day this week seemed to bring news about the fate of Hummer, America’s polluting elephant in the room. Early in the week it seemed that an obscure Chinese machinery company called Sichuan Tengzhong would buy the General Motors marque for $150 million.
But as it turned out, Tengzhong couldn’t get its act together. Chinese banks withdrew lending offers and American banks are weary of becoming involved. Tengzhong even tried to go through a subsidiary outside China to buy Hummer, according to Chinese media.“The deal is on the ropes, if it’s not on the canvas yet,” Michael Dunne, the president of a Hong Kong auto consulting firm told The New York Times.
Also, the Chinese government didn’t approve regulation for the deal. Why, you might ask? The New York Times reports, that it’s in large part because “senior Chinese officials are trying to put a new emphasis on limiting China’s dependence on imported oil and protecting the environment.”
And to think that in the early days of the Iraqi war, the Hummer epitomized pro-America. Now that sustainability is on our radar, it would seem that things have changed. Now everyone wants in on a piece of the sustainability pie.
As of Wednesday, the bid is off. Hummer could be destined for the junkyard. A New York Times editorial said, “We suspect the deal collapsed because the Chinese Communist Party — which rarely shows much shame — is worried about China’s image as the most polluting nation on the planet.”
GM said it would shut down Hummer after the Tengzhong’s bid collapsed.
Then on Thursday, Hummer had a come-back when news broke that GM contacted four Chinese companies to gauge interest in the brawny military-derived SUV.
It’s unlikely a Chinese firm will buy the entire unit, analysts said, but the firms may only be interested in buying parts of Hummer’s assets (i.e. tooling and equipment at Hummer’s Louisiana factory.)
In response to GM’s announcement, Detroit Free Press joshed that “flags across oil-rich Saudi Arabia were lowered to half-mast while the entire Exxon/Mobil board of directors were seen at a group grief counseling session. On Wall Street, oil speculators were jumping from windows while in Michigan, some people were mourning the possibility of a world without Hummers.”
Photo: All Right Released.