Why The Chinese Should Be Bold With Hummer

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Maybe it's because there were few other options.

Maybe it's because HUMMER has fallen in relevance among automakers.

Or maybe it's because people finally realize it was inevitable for a Chinese company to buy an American automaker.

Whatever the reason, the sale of HUMMERhas created little angst and even less buzz among auto enthusiasts. Sure, we've known for months GM would be selling the company known for monster SUVs. But now that it's happened, there is no anticipation about the brand's future. Congratulations Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co. Ltd.! You've just spent $150 million for a company many people have written off.

Actually, that works out well for HUMMER boss Jim Taylor and his new bosses in China. The only way HUMMER can thrive and survive is to embrace its niche status and have the freedom to be bold and different. And when sales have plunged to the point of HUMMER's so that few even pay attention, it's the perfect time plan the next generation of models that will bring back the brand.

Part of the problem for HUMMER has been GM trying to expand the brand with smaller "watered-down" SUVs, like the H3. While I agree that HUMMER can and should grow with smaller SUVs, they need to maintain the iconic HUMMER feel. In recent years, with the brand soaring GM was fighting high gas prices, a catering auto market, and anti-SUV sentiment to grow HUMMER. There was little GM could have done to reverse the slide.

But the Chinese can do that IF they are bold and remember HUMMER buyers love the big rigs because they ARE different. They are aggressive. They make no apologies for being big and bad. Nor should they. There is plenty of room (and plenty of buyers) in the auto market for a HUMMER that embraces its heritage and unique place in America. Let's hope the Chinese remember this as they blaze a new trail with HUMMER.

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