Green Hummer, Green Light?

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

Tengzhong’s bid for Hummer brand “is normal behavior for a company seeking to take advantage of the global downturn to broaden its horizons,” a spokesman of China’s Ministry of Commerce said according to Reuters. “Against the backdrop of the global financial crisis, it is rational and normal for Chinese companies to adopt an international outlook,” MofCom spokesman Yao Jian told reporters.

Does that mean that China’s government will approve the deal? They may, or may not. Sympathy for “normal behavior” doesn’t equal a big red rubber stamp. And none has been asked for . . .

The Ministry of Commerce has not yet received any application related to the deal. What they have are cautionary words for those going abroad:

Yao said the government expected Chinese companies in general to encounter frustrations as they ventured abroad because they lacked managerial skills and track records in mergers and acquisitions. “We hope Chinese companies can learn more about international rules and make prudent investments.” Ah, the land of ambiguity.

In the meantime, Tengzhong said on Sunday the Hummer deal is on track and should be concluded in the third quarter. Yang Yi, Tengzhong’s general manager, promised something outrageous: “We want to make a green Hummer. We think the Hummer has huge potential in emerging markets.”

“Tengzhong and Hummer are very aware of the government’s fuel efficiency requirements,” Yang said. “Hummer has already achieved substantial progress in this area.” That must be a secret development.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • Rod Panhard Rod Panhard on Jun 15, 2009

    Tengzhong can't lose in this deal. If the Chinese government nixes the deal, then Tengzhong still looks good among their peers and customers. How does one say in Sichuan "Hey, those guys are big enough to buy Hummer." And if they close the deal, they've scored a branding coup. "Hummer" looks great on the side of construction equipment, when compared to "Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industries." Play with the letters in that last anagram, and you'll agree too.