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Posts Tagged ‘Hummer’

First Look: Mercedes-Benz G-Class

Who says the Hummer is gone?

by on Apr.12, 2012

Like the GL and GLK, Mercedes is updating the big G-Class for 2013.

Who says the Hummer is dead?  All right, the big tri-star on the hood is a clear giveaway, but like the abandoned General Motors off-roader, the Mercedes-Benz Gelandewagen is the sort of go-anywhere brute that gets folks to move aside when they see it approaching in the rearview mirror.

Known to Americans as the Mercedes G-Class, the civilian SUV with military roots has been around for 33 years without much change, and that holds with the latest update.  Nonetheless, the 2013 G-Class does fall a little more in line with the Mercedes-Benz GL and GLK models that were introduced, earlier this month, at the New York Auto Show.

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“Our G-Class has been a force to be reckoned with for the last 33 years. In its latest evolutionary stage, it offers state-of-the­-art, powerful engines, a further improved range of luxurious appointments and the very latest safety features, as well, of course, as its now legendary off-road capabilities,” says Dieter Zetsche, chairman of Mercedes parent Daimler. “At the same time the design remains true to its down-to-earth, unmistakable style.”

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GM and Carfax to Help People Identify Open Recalls

Better yet, it is a free service available to all.

by on Apr.16, 2010

Carfax also sells full vehicle reports.

General Motors Company is giving millions of vehicle identification numbers (VINs) to Carfax for its cars, trucks and crossover models with so-called “open recalls” or ones that have not been  performed.

This means that starting in May owners of Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles, as well as customers in the market for used models, will be able to check for unrepaired safety, non-compliance and emission recalls through Carfax at www.carfax.com/recall. The VINs provided also include used Hummer, Saab, Pontiac and Saturn models – brands that GM no longer sells after its post-bankruptcy reorganization.

A recall may be mandated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), though none ever has been, as makers negotiate and shape the recall with NHTSA, and then conduct a “voluntary recall” of the defective vehicles.

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Hummer’s Odds Rapidly Fading

Dealers being told to begin shutting down.

by on Apr.09, 2010

Hummer dealers are being told to begin shutting down their operations.

The chances of General Motors finding a buyer for the Hummer brand continue to fade.
 

GM has quietly told Hummer dealers to wrap up their operations by the end of October and has approved wind-up payments to dealers so they can begin the process of closing their showrooms.
 

Dealers have been told “their GM Sales and Service Agreement expires Oct. 31,” Hummer spokesman Nick Richards said. 

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Hummer’s prospects dimmed dramatically, in February, when efforts to sell the Hummer brand to Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machines Co. Ltd. of China collapsed
 

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GM Rejects Eight Offers for Hummer

Reprieve now considered unlikely for GM's macho brand.

by on Mar.10, 2010

A Hummer H3T rolls down the assembly line at GM's Shreveport, LA, assembly line.

The fate of the Hummer brand is now hanging by a slender thread after General Motors Corp. rejected eight separate offers for the brand and ordered employees working on Hummer to wind down the group’s operations.

Until a few weeks ago, it looked like Hummer, one of four brands GM planned to abandon after its emergence from bankruptcy, would find a new home.

The Chinese truck maker, Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Corp., had tendered an offer – but one it couldn’t win final approval for from regulators in Beijing.

On February 24th, GM announced it would begin phasing out Hummer, though it left the door open to finding an alternative buyer, much the same way a white knight emerged to save another one of the four brands, Sweden’s Saab.  According to a memo prepared on March 5, eight offers have since been fielded.

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“Unfortunately there were no qualified or capable candidates. Consequently, we are immediately pursuing the wind-down of the Hummer Brand. In other words there is no more slow winddown it really is wind-down of  Hummer,” according to  a memo signed by Matthew Koch, from the Hummer Deal Execution Team.

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GM Looking to be Back in the Black in 2010, Says Whitacre

Automaker also expects to rehire “hundreds” of dealers.

by on Jan.06, 2010

GM will be back in the black, this year, if "Big Ed" Whitacre has anything to say about it.Just a year after going through its bankruptcy reorganization, General Motors expects to be back in the black for 2010, or so forecast the carmaker’s chairman. But Ed Whitacre, who is also serving as GM’s acting CEO conceded, “there are some obstacles that could get in the way.”

In his second “media roundtable” since taking on the chief executive’s duties at the end of November, a surprisingly candid Whitacre also acknowledged GM “probably made some mistakes” when it dropped more than 1000 dealers as part of its bankruptcy reorganization.  And, as a result, it will likely bring back “hundreds,” he added, through a new, Congressionally-mandated arbitration program.

“It was not a perfect process,” said Whitacre, a former chairman of AT&T.  As a result, some good dealers may have been cut and, he added, they will “be good” to get back into the General Motors retail network.  But Whitacre also expressed concern that GM not be forced to take back “a lousy dealer…arbitrarily.”

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During an hour-long session, GM’s new boss covered a wide range of topics including the search for a permanent CEO, a slot left in limbo by the firing, on November 30th, of former Chief Executive Fritz Henderson.  An outside search firm has been overseeing the process and Whitacre said he expects it to brief the GM Board of Directors soon, though he declined to say when a candidate might be selected.

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GM to Shut Louisiana Plants by 2012

The bankrupt company confirms plans to close its assembly and stamping plants in Shreveport no later than June 2012.

by on Jun.24, 2009

May 2005: HUMMER H3 from Shreveport arrrives at Orr HUMMER

It's probably just a question of time before the Chinese move Hummer tooling home.

GM spokesman Tom Wilkinson said Wednesday that the company filed documents late Tuesday in U.S. bankruptcy court in New York saying the Shreveport complex, employing 950 people, had been assigned to the old GM.

Shreveport had previously been left off the list of old plants not needed because GM was still in the midst of negotiations for the sale of Hummer to Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Company.

The deal with the Chinese truck makers is expected to close in the third quarter, subject to court and regulatory approvals.

Members of UAW Local 2166 assemble the H3T, the first midsize pick-up truck from HUMMER that carves out a new niche in the truck market.

Members of UAW Local 2166 assemble the H3T, the first midsize pick-up truck from Hummer that was supposed to create a new niche in the market.

As part of the deal, GM has agreed to continue building the H3 and HT for the successor company until 2012.

GM will also halt production of the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon built there by the summer of 2012.

Wilkinson was careful not to say GM was dropping out of the compact truck market. “We’re not saying where those will go,” he said. “We’re not saying what the next step is,” (for mid-sized pick up trucks) he said. “It’s a fairly complex issue,” he said.

Subscribe to TheDetroitBureau.comMeanwhile, union officials at the plant, who thought they had dodged a deadly bullet three weeks ago when GM filed its original bankruptcy petition, said they were in shock.

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Q&A: Hummer’s Jim Taylor

How do you translate, “The brand environmentalists love to hate,” into Chinese?

by on Jun.02, 2009

Hummer at the crossorads.  GM has signed a preliminary deal with a Chinese maker which hopes to take over the controversial SUV brand later this year.

Hummer at the crossroads: GM has signed a deal with Chinese maker Tengzhong. It hopes to take over the controversial SUV brand later this year.

Life — and business — can take some strange turns.  Jim Taylor is a great example.  He was trained as an engineer, yet somehow wound up taking over General Motors’ flagship Cadillac division and, as general manager, leading it through its “renaissance” project, with the launch of products like the well-acclaimed CTS sedan.

But a year ago, Taylor was unexpectedly reassigned to GM’s Hummer brand, a division that serves as public enemy number one for environmentalists.  Taylor’s primary job was to oversee the spinoff of the once-popular brand, one of the four divisions GM will shed as part of his Chapter 11 reorganization.

Early Tuesday morning, the automaker announced it had found a buyer.  Initial intentions to keep details secret didn’t last long, as the folks at Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co., Ltd, in Chengdu, China, were quick to start crowing about their new acquisition.  From one of the symbols of American prowess to the latest Chinese toy, Jim Taylor talked with TheDetroitBureau.com’s Bureau Chief Paul A. Eisenstein about the sale and what’s to come at Hummer, which he has agreed to stay on with when the sale is formalized, in the coming months.

Subscribe to TheDetroitBureau.comTDB: Hummer’s sale surprised some folks, who thought the brand was damaged beyond repair.

Taylor: The first thing investors look at it is cash: does it make money?  We’re peddling an asset capable of turning a profit.  We had to find someone willing to make a serious investment.  This is not for the faint-of-heart.  This is an expensive date and goes on for a long time.  In the auto industry, as we’ve all seen, you can chew through a lot of cash, fast, so we were looking for a select group of investors with very deep pockets and a long-term vision. (more…)

Hummer Sold; Production to Return to U.S.

Buyer yet to be named; Taylor to stay with Hummer after sale.

by on Jun.02, 2009

GM has confirmed it has a buyer for Hummer but is withholding its name. The automaker will bring back H3 production from S. Africa and concentrate it in Shreveport, LA.

GM confirms it has an unamed Hummer buyer. The automaker will bring back H3 production from South Africa to Shreveport, Louisiana.

General Motors has officially reached an agreement to sell its Hummer off-road brand to a yet-to-be named buyer. The term sheet signing was announced by GM in a press release early Tuesday.

The move is expected to be a boon to workers at a GM plant in Shreveport, Louisiana, who will be picking up production work currently handled at a factory in South Africa.

“GM has signed a memorandum-of-understanding with an investor,” Hummer spokesman Nick Richards told our associates at PickupTrucks.com. “Both parties have agreed to the basic terms [of the purchase] but the financial details and buyer’s name are not being released at this time. That’s expected to be announced some time in the near future.”

Richards said the buyer meets all of GM’s criteria to purchase and operate the Hummer brand’s civilian truck production: They have a proven track record in international business; they know the Hummer brand can perform better globally; and they have a long-term development plan and are willing to invest in future products. (more…)

A Diesel Running on Gasoline is Just as Sweet

By using compression ignition, a gasoline-fueled engine can be as efficient as an oil burner, and maybe less expensive.

by on May.21, 2009

Members of the GM's HCCI team preparing a prototype engine for testing.

Members of the GM's HCCI team preparing a prototype engine for testing.

The battle between the Otto cycle and the Diesel cycle in auto engines goes back more than 100 years. Diesels have a fuel economy advantage, roughly 20%, compared to traditional gasoline engines largely because of a higher compression ratio needed to ignite the fuel and the elimination of “pumping losses” caused during the intake stroke of a gasoline engine when it is operating at partial throttle.

However, the fuel injection system of a diesel and the heavier components required to hold up to the higher pressures make it much more expensive – these days thousands of dollars more – than a gasoline engine. Tighter emissions laws on cancer-causing particulate matter are adding to the expense and reducing fuel economy. Also, diesel fuel doesn’t ignite as readily as gasoline, which makes cold starting problematic.

As automakers continue the unending quest for greater fuel efficiency, a hybrid combination of diesel and gasoline engines is being studied to see if the best characteristics of both can be obtained.

One such initiative is going on at General Motors where a homogenous charge compression ignition (HCCI) engine is under study. An HCCI engine, when combined with other advanced technologies, can provide up to 15% greater fuel economy than a comparable, non-HCCI engine by using the diesel combustion process.

“HCCI delivers enhanced fuel savings without sacrificing the performance consumers have come to expect,” said Dr. Uwe Grebe, executive director for GM Powertrain Advanced Engineering.    (more…)

GM Bankruptcy, Once Unthinkable, Now Seems Absolutely Unavoidable

Over the past four years, GM has tried all kinds of strategies to keep the wolf from the door. It has now been blown away.

by on May.07, 2009

Ray Young and Company Employees Close New York Stock Exchange

"Once you start losing revenues, you get into a vicious cycle that you can't get out of very easily."

General Motor lost money again in the first quarter of 2009 , and is just as certain to lose money again in the second quarter, given the company’s deep cuts in production now in the schedule.

Bankruptcy, once unthinkable, seems unavoidable in the wake of the $6 billion first-quarter loss — and a $10 billion cash burn — which only exacerbated the company’s already precarious financial situation. Worse, the company revenues plunged by nearly 50% in the first 90 days of this year, suggesting that the Obama Administration’s Auto Task Force really did have cause for recommending the dismissal of former GM chairman Rick Wagoner.

“Once you start losing revenues, you get into a vicious cycle that you can’t get out of very easily,” observed Ray Young, the company’s youthful chief financial officer who was plucked off the finance staff last summer to help guide GM through the grave and grave-digging crisis it is now facing.

Young also outlined another of GM’s serious problems. The drumbeat of bad news is drowning the company. “A lot of impact is already in the marketplace. We have anecdotal evidence that that spills over into places like Brazil. We can’t quantify the bankruptcy concerns, but there is an impact. If we have to go through a court process, it’s going to have to be quick,” he said.

Subscribe to TheDetroitBureau.comThe clear implication was that a long stay in bankruptcy court could very destructive to the company’s health. Perhaps any stay is fatal.  GM needs to get customers to focus on the company’s products, not the bad news, Young said during a conference call with reporters and analysts. How GM can do that, given the lack of significant new products and the plentiful supply of bad news is not at all clear, to put it kindly.    (more…)