Hummer, Saab in limbo
Questions dog GM’s brands, writes NEIL McDONALD
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.