Nearly every environmentalist out there with a blog has at some point or another ranted about the GM Hummer and how horrible for the environment it is. These boxes on wheels get about the worse fuel efficiency ever, but many people, especially Americans, continued to buy them up through 2008. In 2009, sales have dropped more than 65%, but it looks like that won’t be the death of the Hummer. Instead, GM, which is facing bankruptcy, has sold the brand to China. Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co. has purchased the brand and, in addition to bringing it to China, plans to sell the vehicles internationally and continue with the current U.S. marketing and sells plan.
Sichuan Tengzhong also plans on creating its own line of heavy trucks and other vehicles based on the Hummer’s off-road technology. One of the things that the company has said it plans to do, however, is make the Hummer more fuel efficient and economical. This is a great idea and certainly will meet with approval if it happens.
However, there are some tricky aspects to this deal. Sichuan Tengzhong may actually end up facing that 40 percent tax that China places on all imported SUVs if it decides to import US-made Hummers. Plus, they’re going to have to compete with Raser, another vehicle manufacturer that is working on a hybrid version of the Hummer that they say will be at least twice as efficient as the current model.
It’s very possible that Sichuan Tengzhong will achieve their goal of making a better, more efficient Hummer, but it’s also possible that they will simply increase China’s CO2 emissions. However, China does have some very strict fuel economy laws and regulations, so the company will have to work within those regulations.