UPDATED: HUMMER Saved As General Motors Finds A Buyer (In China)

June 2, 2009

HUMMER fans, today's your lucky day: General Motors just announced that it has found a buyer for the soon-to-be-orphaned brand.

Nothing has been signed in blood, but there is a Memorandum of Understanding between the General and the prospective buyer--a buyer that GM itself has refused to identify by name--and said buyer has agreed to "aggressively fund future HUMMER product programs". We also know that provisions are being made for a slow and orderly transition in ownership, which should help preserve some operational stability and jobs. By way of example, GM mentions in the related press release that its Shreveport plant will continue assembling HUMMERs through the 2010 calendar year.

General Motors says that all contract negotiations should be completed by the end of September 2009. Given GM's reluctance to reveal the buyer's identity, we're guessing that the arrangement still has a lot of loose ends, and the two companies will need the full four months to tie them up. Skim the full press release below and start speculating for yourselves.

UPDATED: unnamed sources have indicated that the buyer-to-be is Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Company Ltd., which is based in Chengdu, China. If so, it's an interesting turn of events for a vehicle that has its origins in the deeply red, white, and blue American military. Truth be told, we're not entirely sure how we feel about this yet. We'll get back to you.

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FOR RELEASE:  2009-06-02

General Motors Announces Preliminary Agreement To Sell HUMMER

Deal could secure more than 3,000 jobs in the United States; preserves HUMMER as global off-road brand


DETROIT – General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), announced it has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with a buyer for HUMMER, its premium off-road brand. This transaction is the result of GM's strategic review of the HUMMER brand and the company’s ongoing restructuring efforts.

The sale is expected to close by the end of third quarter of this year and is subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of applicable regulatory approvals.

The deal is expected to secure more than 3,000 U.S. jobs in manufacturing, engineering and at HUMMER dealerships around the country. The transaction also includes plans by the investor to aggressively fund future HUMMER product programs. Under terms of the MoU, the identity of the purchaser and proposed financial terms of the agreement are not being released at this time.

“HUMMER is a strong brand,” said Troy Clarke, President of GM North America. "I’m confident that HUMMER will thrive globally under its new ownership. And for GM, this sale continues to accelerate the reinvention of GM into a leaner, more focused, and more cost-competitive automaker ."

As part of the proposed transaction, HUMMER will continue to contract vehicle manufacturing and business services from GM during a defined transitional time period. For example, under the proposed agreement, GM’s Shreveport Assembly plant would continue to contract assemble the H3 and H3T through at least 2010.

"GM has developed HUMMER into a globally recognized off-road brand,” said James Taylor, HUMMER chief executive officer. “The proposed agreement will enable us to continue that growth and maximize the brand’s potential through new, innovative off-road vehicles with improved efficiency and alternative fuel powertrains. Today’s announcement is great news for HUMMER’s current and future customers, dealers, suppliers and employees around the globe.”

Other terms and conditions specific to the sale are not being disclosed at this time. Citi acted as financial advisor to General Motors Corporation.

About GM - General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), one of the world’s largest automakers, was founded in 1908, and today manufactures cars and trucks in 34 countries. With its global headquarters in Detroit, GM employs 235,000 people in every major region of the world, and sells and services vehicles in some 140 countries. In 2008, GM sold 8.35 million cars and trucks globally under the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, Hummer, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn, Vauxhall and Wuling. GM’s largest national market is the United States, followed by China, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Canada, Russia and Germany. GM’s OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services. More information on GM can be found at www.gm.com.

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Forward-Looking Statements - In this press release and in related comments by our management, our use of the words "plan," "expect," "anticipate," "ensure," "promote," "believe," "improve," "intend," "enable," "continue," "will," "may," "would," "could," "should," "project," "positioned" or similar expressions is intended to identify forward-looking statements that represent our current judgment about possible future events. We believe these judgments are reasonable, but these statements are not guarantees of any events or financial results, and our actual results may differ materially due to a variety of important factors. Among other items, such factors might include: our ability to comply with the requirements of our credit agreement with the U.S. Treasury; our ability to execute the restructuring plans that we have disclosed, our ability to maintain adequate liquidity and financing sources and an appropriate level of debt; the ability of our foreign subsidiaries to restructure and receive financial support from their local governments or other sources; our ability to restore consumers' confidence in our viability and to continue to attract customers, particularly for our new products; our ability to sell, spin-off or phase out some of our brands, to manage the distribution channels for our products, and to complete other planned asset sales; and the overall strength and stability of general economic conditions and of the automotive industry, both in the U.S. and globally.

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GM strives to ensure that all of the information contained in a press release is accurate at the time it is issued. However, changes in materials, equipment and specifications, prices, availability, etc do occur over time. For the most up-to-date information on currently available models, please visit GM.com/shop. 

[source: GM, NYTimes]

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