According to reports, GM’s sale of Hummer to the Chinese is almost finalised, with a deal possible this week. Some might feel that Hummer’s will never be the same if GM ends up selling the massive SUV brand to Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co. While the image of a Hummer will have changed somewhat, the Chinese actually make perfect sense as new owners.
Hummers were all about one version of The American Dream, ie. a life of gratuitous over-consumption and power. Yet this dream has now gone out of fashion in the US, and is likely to remain so even if oil prices fall back to $20 a barrel. One might even say that Hummers aren’t even relevant any more in the US. Which need not be a bad thing. The US will keep advancing, but perhaps in a more efficient and self-aware fashion.
Yet this old American Dream will likely live on in up-and-coming China, which is soon to become the most prominent over-consumer in the world. In fact, despite the political difficulties, modern Chinese seem one of the closest cousins to 20th century Americans in terms of their aspirational mind-set. Already, China’s super rich love Hummers.
Thus if Sichuan Tengzhong can hire good marketing, and is smart enough to keep Hummer’s US work force intact, plus expand the market in China, then perhaps brand Hummer can survive the transition to a new national identity and even grow larger as a result.
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