Nashville on short list for Hummer headquarters

Monday, June 22, 2009 at 9:21pm
Katie Merx, Bloomberg News
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Hummer, the General Motors Corp. sport-utility vehicle unit being sold to a Chinese machinery maker, is considering Michigan and Tennessee as headquarters sites, the division’s chief said.

The locations under study include Detroit and the area around Nashville, “where other automotive manufacturers have chosen to collect,” Hummer Chief Executive Officer Jim Taylor said Monday in an interview.

Separating from Detroit-based GM means Hummer must create corporate offices as it prepares to start building SUVs under the ownership of Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co. Chengdu, China-based Tengzhong has a preliminary agreement to take on Hummer’s dealer accords and senior management.

“We are building a new culture, looking around and benchmarking a lot of the cool companies, the Googles of the world, the places you read about and think ‘It would be cool to work there,’” Taylor said. “Now I actually get to do it.”

Taylor, 52, didn’t set a timetable to pick a headquarters as GM sheds Hummer while restructuring in bankruptcy. Nick Richards, a spokesman, said Hummer is reviewing multiple cities and won’t disclose a site until closer to the deal’s closing, which GM and Tengzhong have said should come next quarter.

GM, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC are based in or near Detroit, while Nissan Motor Co.’s U.S. operations are about 20 miles south of Nashville in Franklin.

Hummer will have 100 or fewer corporate employees and contract with GM for manufacturing, Taylor said. He said he has picked about 25 GM employees to take to Hummer. The sale will protect more than 3,000 U.S. jobs, the companies have said.

GM is disposing of Hummer along with three other U.S. brands to shrink operations. The automaker will have four domestic nameplates once it restructures.

Taylor said Hummer still expects the sale to Tengzhong to proceed. That prospect was questioned in a June 4 report by the state-owned Shanghai Securities News that the transaction was unlikely to win approval because China’s government wants companies to buy overseas partsmakers, not automakers.

“It’s pretty hard for us to have an accurate pulse on the approval process in Beijing on this,” Taylor said. “Nothing has popped out of the process that has said ‘OK, hold it, we’ve hit a roadblock.’"

3 Comments on this post:

By: dick658 on 6/22/09 at 7:34

If China holds our debt and now the contracts for the formost used vehicle of the military, what could be next. Does China have Govt. healthcare or would they like to oversee ours?

By: idgaf on 6/23/09 at 5:14

They must have heard how easy Phil is.

It is counter productive to both Michagan and us to get into a bidding war with them and GM. Each will most likely get one.

By: millenboy on 6/23/09 at 11:17

From the AM General wesite

In late 1999, AM General and General Motors Corporation finalized an agreement to jointly pursue product, marketing and distribution opportunities for HUMMER. Under the final agreement, GM acquired the exclusive ownership of the HUMMER brand name worldwide and the original HUMMER was renamed the HUMMER H1.

In 2002, AM General opened its new HUMMER H2® Assembly Plant in Mishawaka, Ind. next to the plant that produces the military Humvee. There it assembles the exciting SUV and SUT variants of the HUMMER H2, designed and brought to market by GM.

In 2006, AM General and General Motors jointly decided to cease production of the larger HUMMER H1. AM General continues to provide parts and service for the HUMMER H1.

Although GM acquired the HUMMER brand, they do not own any part of AM General LLC.

The military HMMWV M1151A1 or Hummer shares very few, IF ANY parts and production with the GM H1, H2, and H3 Hummer.

So what are the Chinese actually buying? A brand and a name.