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September 23, 2009

US: Hummer plans new HQ – paper

Hummer will relocate to a new headquarters in Michigan once General Motors closes its planned sale to China's Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery, Hummer spokesman Nick Richards told the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

Hummer will relocate to a new headquarters in Michigan once General Motors closes its planned sale to China’s Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery, Hummer spokesman Nick Richards told the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

The new headquarters, expected to be located at a refurbished site in either Detroit or a northern suburb of the city, promises to provide a modest lift to a Michigan economy that has been battered by the rapid decline of the domestic US auto industry and other economic pressures, the business newspaper noted. The region has lost tens of thousands of white- and blue-collar automotive jobs in the past year due to drastic restructuring measures at car companies and their parts suppliers.

Hummer also considered sites in Tennessee and South Carolina, but Michigan pushed hard to keep Hummer in the state because it represents an important victory in the state’s drive to remain at the centre of the global auto industry, the WSJ added.

Hummer plans to create 300 direct jobs at the site, including employees working on design, marketing, engineering and distribution. An additional 600 jobs could be created in the surrounding component base, contract engineering and other industries, according to state estimates.

Run from Detroit as a division of GM, the brand has had very few employees exclusively devoted to running it, the report said. Many employees have transferred from assignment to assignment within GM, spending time at Hummer as well as other GM brands.

According to the report, it is still unclear how many Hummer workers actually be new recruits and how many would transfer from GM. Because Tengzhong has no experience in the light-vehicle industry, Hummer’s viability would be heavily dependent on work done in the US.

Hummer has committed to US$9.4m for the facility over five years, and Michigan has offered $20.6m in tax credits over the next 10 years.

Chinese regulatory approval for the sale is still awaited and there other issues still to be finalised.

Richards told the WSJ the parties were continuing negotiations, adding there was no firm closing date to announce.

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