Hum­mer, Saab in limbo

Ques­tions dog GM’s brands, writes NEIL McDON­ALD

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige -

THE two or­phans of the lo­cal GMHolden port­fo­lio, Saab and Hum­mer, are safe for now. But Gen­eral Motors is clean­ing out more than half of its brands.

Saturn be­came the lat­est brand to go when Penske Au­to­mo­tive Group, owned by IndyCar team owner and Detroit busi­ness­man Roger Penske, signed a deal for GM to build the cars un­der con­tract for his huge dealer net­work.

Pon­tiac will cease by the end of next year, Hum­mer has been sold to the Chi­nese and Saab is on the auc­tion block with three suit­ors.

The fu­ture of Hum­mer and Saab here re­mains un­der a cloud and GM-Holden is be­lieved to have brought in con­sul­tants to look at both lo­cally.

GM-Holden manag­ing di­rec­tor Mark Reuss says he’s keep­ing tabs on what’s hap­pen­ing over­seas.

‘‘We’ll wait and see on those brands,’’ he says.

‘‘We’ll work with who­ever the buyer is of those brands here in Aus­tralia.’’

Hum­mer and Saab are two of the poor­est-per­form­ing brands lo­cally.

Sales have slowed to a trickle this year on the back of spec­u­la­tion about their fates and GM’s woes.

Saab sales have largely stalled since the hal­cyon days of the 1990s be­cause of a lack of new mod­els and clear iden­tity of how the Swedish car­maker fit­ted into the GM em­pire.

Lo­cal Saab dealers sold only 1158 cars last year and in the first five months of this year they have sold 186, a 60 per cent slump against the same pe­riod last year.

Hum­mer has also taken a bat­ter­ing. Dealers have sold 271 Hum­mers this year, 54 per cent down on the same pe­riod last year.

Many Saab and Hum­mer dealers are multi-fran­chised GM op­er­a­tions, but in­dus­try an­a­lysts be­lieve they will be ner­vous.

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