Hummer To China: Same Player Shoots Again

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

With all the noise about GM’s interruptus of the Opel sale, we could forget that there is a brand GM wants to sell, badly: Hummer. Since June it had been announced that the sale of Hummer to little-known Tengzhong in China is as good as done. Except that it wasn’t.

Still ain’t.

A few weeks ago, China’s Commerce Ministry was asked whether they had approved the sale. Their answer: “There is nothing to approve. We haven’t even received an application.”

In the meantime, the application finally made it to the Ministry in Beijing. Where the application was promptly turned down. The Beijing bureaucrats did read the document, and could not discern what Tengzhong was really buying. (Just the brand? The technology? The plans? The intellectual property? Facilities? Explain yourself!) Tengzhong was ordered to go home and come back with a new application that details what Tengzhong is exactly getting for their money. “The renewed application is meant to state the exact assets,” writes Gasgoo.

According to the usually unreliable Chinese news reports, “Tengzhong claimed that the acquirement would involve the Hummer brand only, excluding the intellectual property and facilities issues. Domestic manufacturing has not been mentioned either.” If Tengzhong was to receive the Ministry’s “hao ba” (ok) to the deal, that second application better show some IP and technology on the sales slip, or the answer will be “bu hao” (no good).

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.

More by Bertel Schmitt

Join the conversation
4 of 5 comments
  • Ronin Ronin on Nov 06, 2009

    >>>Queue in the greenie posters who can’t stand Hummer’s existence say, could you be implying that maybe car folks can be even more intolerant of other car folks than say non-car folks are of car folks? But to be relevant, let me ask the question again: Will another HUMMER ever roll down the line again? When was the last H3 even made? It doesn't look like there will ever be a 2010 H3. Maybe if they can pull something out of the fire immediately they can salvage a 2011 model year. But if no H3's are made in the next few months, I don't think any will ever be made again. Which gives lie to the promise that, don't worry, even if the "iconic HUMMER brand" is sold to the Chinese, we'll still produce them locally down south for the next couple years. The Chinese maybe will buy the brand name for a few bucks. Make some toys, then somewhere down the line introduce a new line of HUMMERS made in Hyongjong province (which is a famous manufacturing region which I just made up).

  • Wsn Wsn on Nov 06, 2009
    ronin : November 6th, 2009 at 7:09 am in Hyongjong province (which is a famous manufacturing region which I just made up). --- I am positively certain it's not a proper Chinese name (even as a made-up). It's more like a Korean name.
  • Steven02 Steven02 on Nov 06, 2009

    I don't think that they need any IP to finish the deal. The problem was that what was being bought wasn't listed. I bet they will get some IP because they want to sell H3's. That is about all I can see happening.

  • Ronin Ronin on Nov 07, 2009

    >>I am positively certain it’s not a proper Chinese name (even as a made-up). It’s more like a Korean name. You heard it here first- there is now apparently a new rumor that the Koreans will buy HUMMER. A Daewoo spokesman would neither confirm nor deny the rumor, nor that GM is throwing in the Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Packard, and Saturn brands as well.