The mighty mean Hummer, the ultimate off road, go anywhere, bad boy rapper car has finally found a terrain it cannot cross–the Chinese Government.
Troubled GM sold its Hummer brand earlier this year for US$100m to China’s, Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Company. However, the deal is likely to be blocked by the Chinese Government on environmental grounds and the fact that Tengzhong has no experience in car production.
Hummer like GM has been in trouble for some time as the market for gas-guzzling SUV’s has been declining for years. The recent global recession has further highlighted their impracticality, as consumers are looking for more environmental and energy efficient cars.
The original Hummer H1 was based on a US military vehicle; the High Mobility Multi Purpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV), nicknamed Humvee. These have been used by US forces around the world in all its major conflict zones including Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan.
The civilian Hummer was introduced at the end of the 1980s and became a favourite of the rich and famous. These included, movie stars, rap artists and celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Hummers are rare in China, but not uncommon in certain parts of Beijing, where they always draw a crowd wherever they are parked. However they have little relevance on the streets of the capital, weighing 5 tons and only doing 15 miles per gallon.
Though the brand has tried to stay relevant by making smaller versions like the H2 and H3, the Hummer brand image is too negative and damaging for China’s new environmental image. So roadblock on Hummer will have to stay otherwise it could turn China’s green dreams into a nightmare.