As every salesmanperson knows, you’ve got to close the deal. It’s as simple as ABC. Always Be Closing. Looks like the only thing GM is adept at closing is dealerships. All deals to get rid of its unloved, neglected, and money losing brands have either been canceled, or are barely up in the air. From Opel to Saab to HUMMER. Yes, HUMMER. Haven’t we been told that that beast has long been foisted off on a formerly unknown Chinese company called Tengzhong? It hasn’t. And it won’t be for a while. If at all.
“Hopes that China’s Tengzhong will complete the deal to buy General Motor’s Hummer brand as early as this week appear unlikely to be fulfilled,” writes Reuters.
See, in China, deals with foreign corporations, from the desk where I type to big multinational mergers, need government approval. You file your papers, if everything is ok, papers come back with a big red stamp and you are good to go. But you’ve got to file. No tickey, no washey, as they say in China.
In early November, China’s Commerce Ministry had not received an application. Finally, one came in. The Beijing bureaucrats did read the document, wrinkled their foreheads, and could not make heads or tails of what Tengzhong was really trying to buy (or rather, what GM was trying to sell or not to sell.) Tengzhong was ordered to go home and come back with a new application that details what Tengzhong is exactly getting for their money.
The Ministry is still waiting for the updated application. “We have not received formal application materials from Tengzhong,” Reuters quotes an official at MofCom.
Tengzhong doesn’t sound like they will hand in anything anytime soon: “We have been cooperating with the government all along and have submitted whatever materials needed for the approval,” said a Tengzhong representative to Reuters. “There is little we can do at this stage. We can only wait.” Are we getting this right? MofCom is waiting for Tengzhong while Tengzhong is waiting for MofCom? There doesn’t seem to be a big rush to close this deal. The ham-handed HUMMER hawking is in no big hurry.
In closing, who’s the winner? So far Tengzhong. The previously widely unknown maker of heavy equipment and bridge pontoons has their name all over the worldwide media. “Tengzhong” gets more than a million hits on Google. Soon, their brand will be better known than Ho-HUMMER, while another piece of unfinished business is swirling down the drain.