AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Dude, what's an Oldsmobile?
Everybody loves talking about millennials but nobody does anything about them. Roughly speaking this demographic encompasses young – and not-so-young – folks born in the early 1980s to about 2000. With birth years spanning two decades this is a huge group of very diverse people.
If you had the chance to go on a driving adventure with a celebrity, which one would not make your list? In Britain, that celeb turns out to be controversial Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson.
According to research by Continental Tyres, British drivers wouldn’t want Clarkson as their co-pilot during a 4×4 drive across the Sahara Desert. Continental Tyres polled 2,000 drivers as part of the launch of this year’s Conti 4×4 Trophy, an epic off road challenge where contestants drive a Hummer across the Sahara Desert.
“Jeremy Clarkson might have motoring credentials but either his calamitous road trips on Top Gear, his lack of practical skills or his outspoken views mean most people would leave him behind,” said Tim Bailey, spokesperson for Continental Tyres.
In terms of who they would want to share the journey with, men would like to bring Kelly Brook along for the drive, while women chose Robert Pattinson to rev their engine.
Here is the complete list of the top ten worst celebs to go on driving adventure with:
The architectural team of Craig Hodges and HsinMing Fung (the two founding architects of HPlusF) have taken on unique projects in the past, adding their style to the Hollywood Bowl and Egyptian Theater. For HPlusF’s latest architectural undertaking, they put a cool new spin on the Hummer brand by turning it into a home.
Dubbed the HummerHaus, this design is just a concept. The modular capsule-style dwelling features eight identical Hummer body shells that are wrapped around a steel skeleton. The duo was inspired by their love of innovative technology, and they used their background in industrial, theatrical and residential design to create this cool concept.
The HummerHaus comes equipped with a host of features, including 12 volt electrical systems, OEM refrigeration, heating, and media components. It also infuses eco-friendly components into the design, such as geothermal storage tanks, photo-voltaic cells, and soy insulation.
This concept is an innovative idea of how old vehicles could be repurposed once they are no longer fit for the roads. Would you live in a house made from recycled Hummers? Leave us your thoughts in the comments section below.
You don’t mess with GM, as a car salesman and a trucking company owner found out recently. They’ve been charged by the FBI for allegedly selling more than 200 Hummers overseas with phony titles and collecting more than $500,000 in unearned incentives from General Motors.
Steve Romshek, a former salesman at the Huber dealership in Omaha (that’s the one that sold the Hummers), has been arrested, while Marilyn Maskill, owner of an Overland Park, Kan., trucking company, hasn’t been arrested yet. According to an Associated Press report, the crafty pair sold the Hummers in 2005 and 2006 to a small broker in Chillicothe, Mo. The Hummers were then resold overseas and exported to Nigeria, Germany, Canada, Japan, just to name a few countries. With the fraudulent titles, they were able to pocket more than $500,000 in unearned incentives from General Motors – and that’s money they shouldn’t have been eligible to collect. In total, the pair is facing 11 counts of wire fraud and one charge of conspiracy.
As for the Huber dealership, they cooperated with FBI investigators and settled things General Motors and regulators a few years back. They also had to pay a $100,000 fine to a state licensing board, but admitted no wrongdoing. It’s interesting to note that this fine was the largest ever handed down by the Nebraska Vehicle Industry Licensing Board.
It’s still unknown whether or not the couple who owned the Missouri car brokerage will be charged. They could be on the hook, as they bought more than 200 Hummers from Huber in 2005 and 2006.
We’ll keep you posted when we hear of any further developments. Until then, don’t try to mess with GM – they mean business and apparently have the FBI’s number on speed dial!
[Source: USA Today]
In his book, “Car guys versus Bean Counters,” the indomitable Bob Lutz talks about many things relating to General Motors. He talks about how the company is now on track, giving credit to former CEO Ed Whitacre and his replacement Dan Akerson.
He talks about how the company went from being obsessed with numbers and statistics, to building quality cars and trucks as its number one priority.
And he also talks about the passing of GM’s late, lamented brands, Hummer, Saturn and Pontiac. While Hummer is described as being the target of left-wing activists and politically viewed as the automotive anti-Christ, even though to quote Lutz himself “an H2 doesn’t burn any more fuel than a V12 Mercedes,” he says it was too bad that Saturn didn’t make it, because GM had given the division it’s best ever lineup, with offerings like the Aura sedan and Astra hatchback.
As for Pontiac, it’s this one that he laments the most. Not only did GM’s sporty division already boast a great lineup with cars like the G8 and the Solstice, but before the decision was taken to shutter the brand, Pontiac was also working on another sporty, rear drive offering, likely based off the Alpha platform.
Unfortunately, now we’ll never know what could have emerged from the Arrowhead division and that’s just too bad. As Lutz says, “Pontiac was virtually destroyed by the fact that we had a new head of Pontiac division about every eight months, and every head had a brand-new idea for its product direction.”
Perhaps a sign of what could have been, we’re reminded of an incredible looking Pontiac coupe design model (above) that we recently stumbled upon at GM’s North Hollywood Design Studio. How cool would that have been?
[Source: Ward's Auto World]
Outspoken curmudgeon and former GM badass-in-charge Bob Lutz has been popping up from retirement, serving as a consultant to General Motors and Lotus. And his former company’s bankruptcy restructuring left the company “in good hands,” he said.
Speaking at a conference, Lutz said that the outsiders who served as CEO and CFO during the two-year restructuring had “no history of running the auto industry in the U.S. the wrong way.” And, he continued, it included the elimination of the four brands from the mothership: Hummer, Pontiac, Saturn, and Saab.
“It was the environmental anti-Christ,” Lutz admitted about Hummer. Saab was a drain on resources and only appealed to university professors, while Saturn was a sales disappointment. But—as he spoke like a true car guy—Pontiac was the one ”I personally regret went away,” said Lutz.
There’s only one solution, Lutz: screaming chickens on all future Loti.
Ladies and gentlemen, the 2011 Dakar Rally is almost upon us, though like the last two events, it will be run exclusively in South America (in Argentina and Chile). So in truth it should probably be called the Patagonia Rally, since Dakar is in Senegal, Africa and the event hasn’t been run there since 2007 because of security issues.
Nevertheless, name issues or not, as in past years, the 2011 Dakar, which begins on January 1st, promises to be an exciting and grueling event. And if you can’t get in the action physically, then you can ride along with the Toyo Tires/Speed Energy team which is campaigning two Hummer H3s, one of which (shown above) is to be driven by legendary NASCAR hotshoe Robby Gordon and co-driver Kellon Walsh, who will attempt to win the 5,903 mile event.
In order to monitor their progress, Toyo Tires has put up a Dakar blog which which chronicles the adventures of the team leading up to and during the event. It features written posts, videos and photos, allowing fans up to the minute information relating to the progress of the two Hummers as they traverse the unforgiving terrain on each stage. For more information and to get the latest updates, click on the link below.
[Source: Toyo Tires]
General Motors has announced a massive recall of 1.5 million vehicles over concern that their heated windshield washer fluid system could catch fire. No solution for the problem is available and so GM will give owners a $100 rebate (yup, $150 million in total) for the loss of the feature on their vehicle.
GM had previously recalled vehicles with this system back in August of 2008 for the same issue, and even refused to pay the supplier (Micro-Heat) for the new HotShot system to cover the costs. Micro-Heat was then forced to file for bankruptcy.
Affected vehicles include: the 2006-2009 Buick Lucerne, Cadillac DTS, Hummer H2; the 2008-2009 Buick Enclave and Cadillac CTS; the 2007-2009 Cadillac Escalade, Escalade ESV, Escalade EXT, Chevrolet Avalanche, Silverado, Suburban, Tahoe, GMC Acadia, Sierra, Yukon, Yukon XL, Saturn Outlook and the 2009 model year Chevrolet Traverse.
Of the total 1.5 million vehicles recalled 1,365,070 are in the U.S., 98,794 in Canada, 26,228 and in Mexico.
Cara-what? The Carabinieri, Italy’s paramilitary police, are famous for their sharp liveried Alfa Romeo sedans, which can be seen driving around the streets of Rome, Genoa, Milan and other glamorous locales we know about only through movies and stereotypical depections of la dolce vita.
The Carabinieri have traditionally chosen the Alfas for their driving prowess, but a Sydney, Australia-area police force has chosen the cute-as-a-button Alfa Romeo MiTo for “community outreach” work. The MiTo joins a Hummer H3 and a Holden Commodore, but we think that younger children in particular will respond will to the Alfa’s diminutive size and toy-car-like styling.
The last Hummer H3 is destined for an Avis rental car fleet, after it left the factory on Monday, May 24th 2010. GM actually shut down production of the H3 in July, 2009, but kept the plant going to fill a special order of H3s made by the rental firm.
GM is shuttering the Hummer brand after an attempt to sell it to Chinese automaker Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machines Co., Ltd fell apart. An effort to clear out remaining Hummer models has seen GM offer zero percent financing and generous cash incentives to clear out leftover inventory. An estimated 200 workers will lose their jobs in July as a result of the end of Hummer production.
GM is recalling 2006 through 2010 Hummer H3s are being recalled because the faux-hood louvers can detatch and hit another vehicle.
The retaining clips on the hood louvers can malfunction, and according to a severe warning issued by NHTSA “… could strike a following vehicle and cause injury and/or property damage.” GM says that no deaths or injuries have resulted from this issue, aside from motorists having to suffer the ignominy of driving a Hummer H3.
The Hummer brand is slated to die at the end of the year, after an unsuccessful attempt at selling Hummer to a Chinese automaker.
Scott Rothstein was once a prominent South Florida lawyer, famous for his humble roots, flashy lifestyle and philanthropy. But after a suicide attempt and a failed escape to Morocco, Rothsetin turned himself in after federal agents exposed his 1.2 billion dollar Ponzi scheme.
Now, the United States government has seized his assets and is auctioning off an assortment of exotic cars owned by Rothstein and a number of shell companies. The list ranges from the very mild (two Pontiac G6s, a Ford Expedition) to the highest echelons of supercar-dom (two Bugatti Veryons, a Ferrari F40).
If you have the funds, and are looking to score a deal on some serious machinery with, shall we say, interesting provenance, take a peek at the list below and get in touch with the appropriate arm of the federal government.
[Source: Dupont Registry]
Full List After The Jump:
Just a day after announcing the successful sale of Saab, General Motors today announced that a deal to sell its Hummer unit of SUVs has fallen through. GM has been negotiating with Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machines Co., Ltd., but today announced in a statement that the Chinese heavy machinery maker was, “unable to complete the acquisition of Hummer.”
GM agreed to try and find a buyer for its Hummer brand upon exiting bankruptcy last year. GM decided to refocus on just four brands (Chevy, Buick, GMC and Cadillac). Since then it announced the shut-down of the historic Pontiac brand and also the wind-down of Saturn after a deal to sell it to Penske fell through. Just yesterday GM completed the sale of Saab to Dutch automaker Spyker.
GM has said it will honor Hummer warranties and provide service support and parts to owners worldwide.
Official release after the jump:
Toyota was all ready to create a little positive marketing for itself by entering its new 2010 4Runner in the grueling Baja 1000 race. The only problem is, Hummer also signed up and decided to spoil all the fun.
Both the 4Runner, piloted by a host of drivers, including Ivan “Ironman” Stewart, a 22-time Baja winner and member of the Off-Road Motorsorts Hall of Fame; and the Hummer H3 driven by 20-time winner Rod Hall (and others), were entered in the Stock Mini class, meaning that they received only minor modifications.
The Hummer proved victorious, but it was close with the H3 only overtaking the 4Runner in the last 30 miles of the 673-mile race. The win now gives Rod Hall a total of 21 class victories, and solidifies Hall’s claim to being the only driver to have competed in all 42 Baja 1000 races.
“These production trucks are the right size. They’re fun, take a lot of abuse and just keep running and running,” said Rod Hall. “You’d be surprised at how much abuse the H3 can take.”
For the record, there were only three vehicles entered in the Stock Mini class, however, just finishing the race is its own little victory, as this year only 185 of 328 total vehicles (just 56.4 percent) of the vehicles entered made it to he checkered flag.
The Hummer H3 Alpha driven by Chad Hall of Rod Hall Racing also managed a victory in the Stock Full Class.
“Off-road motorsports is an integral part of Hummer’s vehicle development process and a cornerstone of the brand’s DNA,” said Hummer CEO James Taylor. “We’re extremely proud of the team’s resilience to earn these stock class victories and congratulate the Rod Hall Racing program on another successful Baja 1000. Race after race, they continue to prove the rugged nature of Hummer vehicles.”
The overall Baja 1000 winners were Andy and Scott McMillin, who covered all 673 miles in just 14-hours, 19-minutes and 50-seconds in their Trophy Truck Class Chevy Silverado.
[Source: SCORE and Hummer]
H4 and H5 models part of five-year plan to change public perception of brand
Under new ownership by Chinese heavy machinery maker Sichuan Tengzhong, Hummer will move forward with plans to introduce a smaller and more efficient H4 model. Previewed in concept form as the HX (above), the H4 would be lighter and more fuel-conscious, but wouldn’t give up on the brand’s hard-core attitude. It would be designed as a rival to the Jeep Wrangler in rugged off-road performance.
According to brand CEO Jim Taylor, the H4 would come to market in about three years, followed a year or two later by an even smaller and even more fuel-efficient H5 model.
The sale of Hummer to China’s Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co. Ltd. is expected to be finalized by December 1st, although judging by the fact that GM still hasn’t managed to sell Saab or Saturn, that date might be pushed back – or the sale might not happen at all.
[Source: Autmotive News via LeftLaneNews]
As a brand, Hummer’s time in the spotlight is pretty much over, although if there is something that can save the brand it might be a core group of enthusiasts and a strong motorsports background. While Hummers are best known for being excessive street machines, unlike a lot of SUVs, they are actually incredibly capable off-roaders.
And so despite the brand’s near disappearance for the marketplace over the past year, Hummer was in attendance at the 2009 SEMA Show displaying two special edition street machines and two off-road racing trucks – including the incredible Robby Gordon Off-Road Dakar Hummer.
Gordon has raced a Hummer in off-road events since 2008, and last year places third overall in the grueling Dakar Rally. This year, the Hummer team and Gordon have their sights set on first and it looks like they have the truck to do it.
Hummer claims the race-truck is based on an H3, but with what appears to be an entirely carbon fiber vehicle, we’re not sure there’s much of the factory car left. It’s a tube-chassis vehicle and while it is built for serious off-roading, Gordon will be comfortable inside thanks to a fully enclosed cockpit with air conditioning. As for the engine, Hummer will only say that it is based on a production GM V8.
The 2010 Dakar Rally starts January 1st and we’ll be sure to check in on how Gordon and his crazy carbon Hummer are doing.
GALLERY: Robby Gordon Off-Road Dakar Hummer
Official release after the jump:
General Motors has sold its Hummer brand of SUVs to Chinese heavy industrial machinery builder Sichuan Tengzhon. No details have been released but the sale was reportedly made for a sum of just $150 million.
GM CEO Fritz Henderson had estimated in documents filed during GM’s bankruptcy proceedings that the brand could be worth as much as $500 million.
The once glamorous brand of massive and massively expensive SUVs began to suffer when the price of fuel spiked last year, but the recession hurt the company far more as it has recorded a 64 percent decline in sales so far in 2009. That drop is the largest sales decline recorded by any automobile brand this year.
Tengzhong will take over Hummer’s brand network as well as it’s manufacturing processes, however, GM will continue to build the H2, H3 and H3T on contract until June 2011. Brand CEO Jim Taylor will remain on with the company.
The sale of Hummer is actually the first successful one in GM’s brand elimination process. The company announced it would eliminate Pontiac, while selling off Saturn, Saab and Hummer and keeping four core brands: GMC, Buick, Cadillac and Chevrolet. The sale of Saturn to Penske recently fell through while GM has yet to sign a contract with Koenigsegg group, which is interested in Saab.
[Source: Automotive News]
General Motors’ sale of its Hummer brand to China’s Tengzhong may be completed within a week.
The two companies have been working on a deal for Hummer since June, and an unnamed source said to be the discussions said a deal is imminent.
“Tengzhong executives have been traveling between the U.S. and China in the past months and more will arrive in Detroit soon,” the source told Reuters. “If there are no big surprises, an agreement could be finalized next week.”
The source also said that, as expected, Tengzhong is likely to keep Hummer’s senior management and operational team, as well as its dealership network.
The deal, reportedly worth $100 million, would also enter Tengzhong into a long-term agreement with GM over components, material supply and assembly. GM’s Shreveport, La. plant would be contracted to build the H3 and H3T models through 2010.
One final hurdle in the way of a Tengzhong’s Hummer acquisition is approval of the Chinese government. Earlier reports from a state-run radio station said the Chinese government may nix the deal but recent comments from China’s commerce ministry sounded more positive. The unnamed source said Chinese regulators will decide whether to approve the deal after it is finalized.
According to a report on Chinese state radio, the sale of Hummer by General Motors to heavy-equipment manufacturer Tengzhong will not go ahead. The report on China National Radio states that Tengzhong’s acquisition of Hummer goes against the government’s efforts to reduce pollution by manufacturing companies in China.
Tengzhong released a statement in response to the report saying that just because the comments were made on state radio, it does not necessarily reflect the will of the Chinese government.
While neither side has released any details of the agreed sale, it is reported to be worth roughly $100 million.
The China National Radio report also stated that China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) would also seek to stop the sale of Hummer because Tengzhong lacks expertise in auto manufacturing.
Tengzhong also dismissed this report saying that as no NDRC official was cited. The Chinese heavy-equipment manufacturer did admit that no official agreement with Hummer or GM had been signed but did say that it is continuing to work with the U.S. automaker and the Chinese government.
In an interview with Hummer CEO Jim Taylor, The Detroit Bureau found out plenty about the company’s future plans under it’s new owner, Chinese heavy machinery maker Tengzhong.
In the short term Taylor says that the Hummer H3S will be built in a GM facility in Shreveport alongside the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon.
Looking into the future, however, Taylor says that he expects future product development to happen in the U.S. – although where Hummer decides to set up shop will depend on what state gives the automaker the best incentive. As for the company’s main initiatives, they will be to build smaller vehicles that get better fuel economy.
Taylor said that the H4 is coming and that in the next five years Hummer will definitely have some sort of alternative energy vehicle, be it a hybrid, electric or diesel. In fact, he pointed out that Hummer already sells a diesel-powered H3 in South Africa – it just doesn’t meet U.S. emissions standards.
When asked if Hummer would go even smaller than the H4, Taylor said that it was an ongoing topic of discussion. He did, however, add that the most important thing for the company will be meeting stricter fuel-economy regulations, hinting that smaller and more fuel-efficient Hummers might be more of a necessity than a desire.
Additionally, Taylor commented that the trademark image of the brand is likely to change, as the bold Hummer grille and steeply raked windscreen is actually a hindrance to highway fuel-economy.
Most importantly, however, he outlined that Tengzhong is a company with deep pockets and is committed to the brand long term. The auto industry can chew through cash extremely quickly and so to ensure the longevity of the Hummer brand, it was necessary to find a company that was willing and able to look long term.
[Source: The Detroit Bureau]
Earlier today we reported that GM had reached a tentative deal to sell off the Hummer brand to an unnamed party. That company has now been identified as Chinese heavy machinery maker Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co., Ltd. – or just Tengzhong for short.
Tengzhong will take control of the Hummer brand including the senior operational team and the company’s dealership network. It also plans to continue a relationship with General Motors in the immediate future while it looks to expand Hummer with new products.
“The Hummer brand is synonymous with adventure, freedom and exhilaration, and we plan to continue that heritage by investing in the business, allowing Hummer to innovate and grow in exciting new ways under the leadership and continuity of its current management team,” said Yang Yi, CEO of Tengzhong. “We will be investing in the Hummer brand and its research and development capabilities, which will allow Hummer to better meet demand for new products such as more fuel-efficient vehicles in the U.S.”
In an interview with Automotive News, Hummer CEO James Taylor said that long term the company will look to set up its own engineering and marketing offices in the United States.
Taylor also said that Tengzhong’s plans include expanding the Hummer product lineup and using alternative powertrains to help it meet with increasingly stringent environmental standards.
The Tengzhong company is the largest privately owned engineering company in China, specializing in heavy machinery for large scale construction projects, such as roads and bridges. It does not, however, have any experience in building passenger vehicles.
[Source: Automotive News]
Official release after the jump: