Thursday, June 11, 2009

Conglatulations on your new Hummel.

It's a racist stereotype I know, but I couldn't resist. The fact of the matter is that the ailing GM have now sold the Hummer brand to Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery in China. Quite what this means for the company I'm not sure. I know the Chinese will probably be delighted at the acquisition but what about GM and its employees? Will the existing plants be kept open, or will they be culled in favour of building the ubiquitous gas guzzler in the Orient instead? Can the new owners make a more fuel-economic version? How about stripping out the petrol engine and stuffing in a nice turbodiesel instead?
I'm in two minds about this latest in the saga of a death of a thousand cuts. On the one hand, the Hummer always has been, and will likely continue to be a ridiculous vehicle for private ownership and use. It should have died years ago. But on the other hand, that does put a lot of people's jobs at risk. The sensible company would find a way to adjust and re-task, and Tengzhong Machinery might just do that. But what if they don't? What if all the workers are laid off? Who do you blame? It's easy to sit behind a keyboard and answer that question: GM's arrogant management. They continued to build terrible vehicles with terrible gas mileage that people didn't really want, believing that was the correct way to steer the company.
But that will be of little solace to the Hummer employees if they end up on the job line. Sadly - if that happens - GM's bosses high in their ivory towers probably won't even be able to hear the angry mob below, through the triple-glazed windows whilst leaving from the rooftop helipad with their briefcases stuffed with billions.

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