General Motors had preliminary talks with Hunan Changfeng Motor on a possible sale of the Hummer brand but the Chinese sport utility vehicle (SUV) maker has backed off.

Changfeng, partly owned by Mitsubishi Motors, reportedly decided not to proceed with the talks after a tour of Hummer's US production facility, as it saw only limited potential for it to market the vehicle, a source "with direct knowledge of the matter" told Reuters.

"The Hummer is way too expensive for the Chinese military and demand from civilian buyers is not big enough to justify a purchase, especially with oil prices running near an all-time high," the source said.

Changfeng sells its Leopard SUV to the Chinese military at no more than RMB200,000 (US$29,120) each, a fraction of a Hummer's costs, the source said.

GM's China spokesman declined to comment and a Changfeng spokesman could not be reached, Reuters added.

Other Chinese automakers, including SAIC Motor,  Dongfeng Motor Group and Toyota Motor have also said they had little interest in Hummer.

GM last June said it was reviewing Hummer with all options, including a sale, on the table. The brand's US sales fell 40% in the first half of 2008.

GM chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner last week said that there is 'significant interest' in the company's up-for-sale assets, including the Hummer brand.

Wagoner added that any sales 'would not be concluded imminently'.

Industry sources have told just-auto that initial expressions of interest in Hummer have come from Russia and that Mahindra of India - also an SUV maker - is seen as likely to be attracted to Hummer after Tata recently acquired Jaguar and Land Rover.