Plans by Chinese engineering company Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery to acquire General Motor’s Hummer unit appear to have hit the buffers.

The plan to purchase the sports utility brand was thrashed out last October to include existing dealer arrangements as well as IP licence rights to build the vehicle. Tengzhong had also previously said Hummer would offer an alternative powertrain in every model.

Although financial arrangements were not disclosed, Tengzhong said it intended to purchase Hummer through what it described as an “investment entity” in which it would hold an 80% stake. The remaining 20% was destined to have been taken by private entrepreneur Suolang Duoji.

However, the deal seems to be mired in complicated talks now going on at the Chinese ministry of commerce concerning the mechanics of the purchase.

Sources close to the matter also highlighted Chinese reports that the ministry of commerce maintained it had not received any applications, although an agreement had been inked to sell Hummer last October.

Despite that position, Tengzhong has previously noted the deal was subject to “customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals and/or review by government agencies in the US and China,” which may or not have triggered the current apparent impasse.

The original agreement also specified that Hummer would contract to buy vehicle manufacturing, key components and business services from GM. The US automaker’s Shreevport assembly plant in Louisiana would continue to build the H3 SUV and its H3T pickup derivative.

A GM Europe spokesman told just-auto that South African H3 assembly was continuing “until the deal is done” in both left- and right-hand drive. European and UK sales have, however, slowed to a trickle following the demise last year of Netherlands-based Kroymans which also imported and distributed Cadillac and the Chevrolet Camaro.

Chinese media reports have suggested that, should the Chinese government scupper the Hummer deal, Tengzhong could seek an offshore solution.

Calls to the Chinese ministry of commerce did not yield any light on the situation. General Motors declined to comment.

Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery is one of China’s major privately-owned engineering companies.