Thursday, February 25, 2010

The death of a Giant


After a long string of negotiations with Sichuan Tengzhong, GM is finally throwing in the towel on its Hummer brand. Probably. "GM will now work closely with Hummer employees, dealers and suppliers to wind down the business in an orderly and responsible manner," said John Smith, GM vice president of corporate planning and alliances.

The end of this particular GM brand is more significant, I think, then the death of Pontiac and Saturn. I don’t think a single person shed a tear when Saturn quietly passed away, and although Pontiac has a lot of important history (the GTO, anyone?) it has been defunct of innovation for what seems like 30 years.

Hummer, however, seems to mean much more considering its substantial military service, and its association with American bravado and testosterone. At least, it was associated with such until moms found all the roomy cargo space in the back could be used to carry kids instead of guns and ammo.

Despite its relatively recent transition to what I refer to as the “urban princess warrior mobile,” for most people “Hummer” still conjures up images of a camo-skinned-half-jeep-half-tank-baby. It represented a “stop at nothing” attitude, the idea that anything could be conquered with enough torque and big enough wheels.

So perhaps this particular company's demise is indication of greater system changes. Poor management aside, Sichuan Tengzhong was only offering GM $150 million for its failing brand. How is Amurica’s most iconic symbol equal in value to a single Jackson Pollack?

no. 5

Well, perhaps Hummer no longer echoes American sentiment. Americans today, after all, are more aware of the environment and much more budget conscious then one year ago. The over-priced, over-sized gas-guzzler is

no longer what Americans look to for an indication of success.

Over the top luxury is on its way out. Conscious, informed spending is the new trend. Just look at the success of Tesla Motors. Or the introduction of Audi’s upcoming E-tron. According to this WSJ article, the Luxury Institute, a New York research firm, found that younger and more-affluent consumers seek information about corporate social responsibility more actively than their older and less well-off counterparts.

In no way am I claiming that America has been castrated by the green trend. I think rather the opposite, in fact. An increase of informed consumers indicates an increase in education across the country as a whole. If we are educated and conscious of what is happening around us, maybe the world will listen next time we begin talking about something. It certainly a much friendlier image then that of the “stop for no-one” hummer. So the death of Hummer, though tragic, might actually lead to a stronger tomorrow.


Technorati Tags: ,,,
Stumble Upon Toolbar

No comments:

Post a Comment

related Directory My Zimbio