Monday, November 30, 2009

The Hummer is back?

During our Thanksgiving break in scenic northwest Arkansas, I noticed something odd going on up there -- a lot of ads for the Hummer.

"The Hummer is back," declared an ad from some car lot in the part of the world as some announcer spoke excitedly about the virtues of owning one of those nasty things.

Wait a minute. I thought the Hummer had become as outdated as the pet rock and the AMC Gremlin. I figured the Hummer had one foot in the grave and the brand's vehicles had been relegated to used car lots around the country.

Here in Benton, Ark., the Hummer lot in town is little more than a parking lot for econo-boxes offered up by Chevrolet.

The Hummer is back? The symbol of everything that was wrong with the U.S. auto industry is making a comeback? People feel confident enough in the economy to blow thousands on vehicles that burn gas like it's still $1 a gallon? Really?

I'm not sure if that's true or not, but here's the truly ironic thing -- GM is in the process of selling Hummer to Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery, a Chinese company (of course).

Actually, that makes sense. China is in the process of buying everything else (and holds more U.S. government debt than will ever be repaid in my lifetime (if at all)), so why shouldn't it own Hummer, too?


Elripster said...

The Hummer never left. Ever try paying attention before you write an ignorant article?

This should chap your hyde a bit. While Hummer is sold and will be producing new models in the next few years (Tengzhong will pay GM to develop and produce) three car companies that sold those small cars that everone doesn't really want are gone or going (Saturn, Pontiact, Saab).

The main reason Hummer lives on is that it is a profitable brand. Of course you probably think that profitability is also part of what was wrong with the auto industry?

The Natural State Hawg said...

The Hummer might not have left, but it was showing signs to being on its way out the door. That, I do believe, was the point of all those "the Hummer is back" ads I referenced.

As for the company being profitable, that brand had been losing money hand over fist. That may well be one of the reasons GM sold it.

Finally, who on earth would argue that profitability is what's wrong with the U.S. auto industry? The government had to step in and save Chrysler and GM because those companies weren't making any cash. The only U.S. auto manufacturer that is worth a damn is Ford and that's solely because it did make enough money to avoid having to beg the government for help.

The reason I've picked on the Hummer is because it represents the notion that our auto industry simply can't adapt to changing market conditions. Toyota and Honda were touting great gas mileage and developing vehicles that were even more economical while GM was doing little more than rolling out bland, uninspired cars and dumping money into Hummer marketing.

That very lack of foresight almost caused a couple of major U.S. auto manufacturers to close. It's fairly easy to criticize that...

Anonymous said...

You tell 'em honey!!!