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GM to shut down Hummer after China deal fizzles.

Summary: The iconic but tarnished Hummer brand is to wind down after failed Chinese take over bid.

General Motors Co will wind down its iconic but tarnished Hummer brand after Chinese regulators rejected a $150 million bid by an obscure Chinese machinery maker to buy the money losing SUV line.

GM had been trying to complete the deal by the end of February after reaching a definitive agreement in October to sell Hummer to privately owned Tengzhong, a little-known heavy machinery company based in Sichuan province.

The collapse of the deal is another setback for GM, which had been working to shed unprofitable brands and focus on its four core brands, Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC, after emerging from bankruptcy last July.

A GM spokesman said the closure of Hummer would put 3,000 jobs at stake, including manufacturing workers, dealers and staff members. The brand also has 153 US dealers.

The vehicle grew out of the US military multipurpose vehicle known as the Humvee produced by AM General. Hummer was lauded early on for a tough image but became synonymous with gas-guzzling excess when consumers became more interested in high oil prices and environmental responsibility.

GM bought the Hummer brand from AM General in 1999 and went on to produce several civilian models.

Industry experts claim Tengzhong faced questions in China about how a machinery maker with no international experience, could turn around a struggling foreign brand like Hummer.

There was also concern over a Chinese firm acquiring a US brand known for making gas-guzzling vehicles, at a time when China is trying to develop more environmentally friendly technologies.

Independent Television News Limited 2010. All rights reserved.

Independent Television News Limited 2009. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Independent Television News Limited (ITN)
Date:Mar 1, 2010
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