It’s not Saab related at all, but it’s news that’s tied to everything Saab’s going through right now, so here we go…….
If you’re into sports, then you probably have a favourite team playing in whatever competition it is that you watch. For me that team is the Carlton Football Club in the australian Football League.
And if you’re sport of interest is like mine, then that particular competition will also include a team that has a …….. dare I use the word ……… nemesis.
Carlton’s arch rivals in the AFL are the Collingwood Football Club. They wear black and white stripes and are known as The Magpies (a black and white bird). A former Carlton coach admitted he used to swerve his car to try and hit magpies when he saw one by the side of the road.
Within the GM group of brands, there wasn’t one further from the Saab ethos than HUMMER. In it’s truest form, a HUMMER was massive. It was made to go over things. Anything. That Saab and HUMMER and their conflicting philosophies could come from the same parent was pretty typical of the contradiction that was GM.
Well, Saab are on their way and today, GM announced that HUMMER are already out the door, having been sold to a Chinese company.
DETROIT and SICHUAN, June 2, 2009 – Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co., Ltd (Tengzhong) and General Motors Corp. today confirmed details of their proposed transaction, pursuant to which, Tengzhong, a major industrial machinery group, will acquire the rights to the premium off-road HUMMER brand, along with a senior management and operational team.
It will also assume existing dealer agreements relating to HUMMER’s dealership network. It is contemplated that Tengzhong will, as part of the transaction, enter into a long-term contract assembly and key component and material supply agreement with GM. In an earlier statement, GM said it expects the deal if successful to secure more than 3,000 US jobs. The final terms of the deal are subject to final negotiations.
Based in the Chinese province of Sichuan, Tengzhong is a privately-owned company and a leading domestic manufacturer of road, construction and energy industry equipment. It will expand into the premium off-road vehicle segment through what will be a strategic acquisition for Tengzhong and a catalyst for HUMMER’s growth in the U.S. and around the world.
I’m guilty of having mocked HUMMER. I admit it.
I saw one in Stockholm and gave it the finger. And I was pleased to do so. I caught Saab Australia head honcho Parveen Batish turning up to a Saab event in one, and gleefully shot a photo. I rode in one myself at that same event and panned it relentlessly.
The Australian Football League wouldn’t be the same if Collingwood weren’t part of it. They may be enemies, but at least they have a rock-solid unmistakable identity.
HUMMER might be gone, but far from hoping they go under, I hope they go well.
A HUMMER might be the polar opposite to what I want in a motor vehicle but at least it has an identity. Not that GM didn’t try and water that down, too. The H1 was the real deal and the H3 was a toy car in comparison.
In a world where seemingly everything else is being dumbed down to a homogenised single design, at least the HUMMER brand has some meaning.
In fact, as I’ve said before on this site, HUMMER might have the most identifiable brand amongst the whole GM stable. It became an achilles heel for them, but at least it was something ‘pure’.
I hope Saab can regain the bits of identity they’ve lost under GM ownership. I’ve got no reason to withhold that wish from HUMMER, too.