Yesterday, General Motors announced that it would be shutting down its Hummer brand. Until late-February, it was thought the business unit might be purchased by Chinese firm Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machines Co. Unfortunately, Chinese regulators didn't approve. Consequently, GM is thought to have no choice but to liquidate Hummer's assets. But another report today indicates that there may still be an interested buyer -- and from the U.S.
TheCarConnection (TCC) breaks the story that a Raser Technologies, a Utah-based engineering firm, has been interested in Hummer all along. TCC's sources indicate that Raser bid to acquire the brand after the Tengzhong deal died. The article also says that Raser met
all most of the bidder requirements.
Raser specializes in electric-conversion and hoped to make plug-in hybrid Hummers, according to TCC. The firm had developed technology similar to what will be used in GM's upcoming Chevy Volt, which would allow long distance travel, but on very little gasoline. That could have made Hummer a perfect fit: there's definitely an underserved market segment for big plug-in hybrid SUVs.
So why no deal? That remains unclear. Perhaps GM was unhappy with Raser's bid. But since Tengzhong's bid of $150 million was initially accepted, it's hard to imagine how much more insultingly low it could have been. GM may have determined that it would be financial better off just liquidating the brand's assets rather than selling it for whatever Raser offered.