Mumbai: General Motors, which was earlier rumoured to have been in talks with Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra for the sale of its Hummer brand of sports utility vehicles, is now looking to Chinese and Russian buyers as well, reports said.
Mahindra, sources said, may not be very interested in buying the GM brand now as it has plans to launch its own small sports utility vehicle in the US market next year, adding, talks with GM are still in initial stages and continuing.
Mahindra had plans to launch its own SUV – the Scorpio – in the US market and had reportedly signed up over 300 dealers to distribute the vehicle.
The high-cost production facilities of GM and its franchises in the more affluent neighborhoods where car shoppers look for luxury brands may also deter Mahindra, sources pointed out.
The reports said GM is also in talks with Russian and Chinese companies for the sale of Hummer. GM, incidentally, has operations in China and has acquired an old auto plant in Russia to manufacture low-cost vehicles.
Blog reports, meanwhile, said a Chinese company, Changfeng, had signed a contract with Hummer some time back to supply the vehicles' chassis.
GM, the reports pointed out, is finding it much cheaper to manufacture vehicles in developing countries like China and India. ''If any Chinese companies are interested in buying Hummer, it will be certainly an option for us to look at. We need to be open to all ideas," the report quoted GM's president and chief operating officer Henderson as saying.
GM, which has announced plans to raise up to $4 billion through asset sales, has hired consultants and investment bankers to review the Chinese market for potential buyers for GM assets, said one source.
GM, which has been holding on to its SUVs, powered by big gasoline engines, has been posting record losses and the planned hive off of the Hummer brand is expected to ease the erosion on its finances.
SUVs are increasingly becoming unpopular in the US and most western countries thanks to sky-rocketing crude oil prices that threaten to destroy the market for the conventional cars itself.
The struggling US automaker, which has lost more than $51 billion over the past three years, hurt by its falling sales of SUVs, has been idling or slowing work at its Hummer assembly plants to liquidate inventories.