CRISIS, AS THEY SAY, is the perfect catalyst for change. GM offshoot Hummer has long been seen as a dinosaur in an increasingly eco-conscious automotive world, however the recently announced agreement to sell the brand to Chinese industrial manufacturing company Sichuan Tengzhong could be just the shot in the arm the marque needs.
Specifically, the deal could open up a wealth of alternative-fuel possibilities for Hummer.
It's no secret that Hummer's top brass intends to capitalise on its change of owner by upping development of a fuel-sipping luxury SUV, but it appears that such a machine may be closer to market than we think.
Speaking with The Detroit Bureau, Hummer CEO James Taylor said in response to the question of alt-fuel Hummers:
"It’s a big number to take on, a ground-up hybrid or electric vehicle, but it’d make a lot of sense for the Hummer brand," he said.
When probed on whether such a vehicle would appear in five years time, Taylor responded:
"I think five years out, excellent, assured. It’s 100%. It’s a choice, then, of which one makes the most sense."
Hummer has already begun to dabble in diesel engines, however emissions standards in the USA means its marketability is limited and that the brand may be better served by focusing its efforts toward hybrid, all-electric or, at the very least, flex-fuel models like the HX concept (pictured).
Will such tree-hugging technology alienate existing hummer fans, or will it reap thousands more sales for the company that's become one of the most favourite punching-bags of environmentalists? We'll have to wait and see.
Taylor also said that while the brand will be owned by a foreign company with no experience in car making, Tengzhong is comfortable with letting Hummer's existing management team run the company without interference, while it merely funds the operation.
"Their desire is to be very hands-off, let me run it how we want to do it, but they supply the cash," he said.
"They aren’t in the car business, so they won’t come and pretend they’re smarter than us, which is the risk when you’re acquired by another car company."