Hummer might move to Tennessee

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Fritz Henderson said today that the deal to sell the Hummer brand is proceeding.

“The purchaser for Hummer is going through the approval processes in China,” Henderson said. “We’re cooperating with them. The purchaser is professional, well-advised and has done a huge amount of work. We’re supporting the process. Our expectation is that this deal can get done.”

Sichuan-based Tengzhong, a Chinese firm that builds heavy-duty commercial vehicles, is in the process of buying Hummer. Earlier, in a live Web chat on the GM FastLane blog in early June, Henderson said Tengzhong “offered the best overall alternative, and we did not have (a) broad portfolio of other buyers.”

Meanwhile, Hummer is checking out locations for its new headquarters.

Hummer, the sport utility vehicle manufacturer in the process of being spun off by General Motors, has had early discussions with Williamson County officials about relocating the company’s headquarters here, officials said.

In late June, Hummer Chief Executive Officer Jim Taylor said in an interview the company was examining the areas around Detroit as well as Nashville for the possible site of its new corporate headquarters.

Nick Richards, Hummer spokesman, confirmed this week that the automaker has had preliminary discussions with Williamson County economic development officials.

“We’ve had some initial discussion with folks in Williamson County but it’s too early to say what our plans are,” Richards said. “Right now we’re looking at all viable options for the future Hummer headquarters.”

Matt Largen, county economic development director, confirmed the recent discussions though he declined to provide details.

Chinese manufacturer Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co. is slated to buy the General Motors unit in a deal some expected to be finalized later this year. That deal still needs a final sign-off from the Chinese government and recent reports say China’s state planning agency might reject the deal because Hummer doesn’t fit Beijing’s gas-conservation goals for vehicles.

Moving away from GM means Hummer must find separate corporate offices.

It will be interesting to see what happens to this once-hot brand that represents many of the problems facing the U.S. auto industry which focused too much on gas-guzzling vehicles. In an era of higher gas prices and a major recession, do vehicles like the Hummer H3T pictured above have a future? Of course it can possibly survive as a niche brand, but it will be interesting to see how the brand evolves under new ownership in this new environment.

  

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