General Motors has finalized a deal to sell its iconic Hummer brand to Chinese heavy-equipment maker Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co. The deal will save 150 Hummer dealerships and 3,000 American jobs, execs say. The vehicles will be assembled at GM plants in the US until 2011 under the deal, and the Chinese firm has signaled it plans to continue manufacturing in the US afterwards.
The brand's new owners plan to invest in improvements, including boosting the notorious gas-guzzler's fuel efficiency, but some auto industry experts doubt they'll be able to make Hummer succeed as a stand-alone firm. "This deal is a new lease on life for the brand, but it's a brand that has a lot to overcome in terms of image," one analyst told the Los Angeles Times. "Hummer epitomizes where the economy was pre-recession, and it's going to take some pretty creative marketing to change people's perception of the brand."