GM to decide Hummer brand's future in weeks

DETROIT Tue Mar 31, 2009 12:21pm EDT

Hummer trucks made by General Motors are seen on a dealer's lot in Denver February 26, 2009. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Hummer trucks made by General Motors are seen on a dealer's lot in Denver February 26, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Rick Wilking

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DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Corp will miss a self-imposed deadline for deciding whether to sell or fold its Hummer brand, but expects to make a decision within weeks, Chief Executive Fritz Henderson said on Tuesday.

GM, operating under U.S. government emergency loans and told on Monday that it has 60 days to move much more aggressively on its restructuring, had put the Hummer brand of large sport-utility vehicles up for sale last June.

"We have been in dialogue with several interested parties," Henderson told reporters. "This is one where frankly we are within weeks of making a judgment of whether we are going to make a sale or not."

GM, which has reported losses totaling $82 billion since 2005, plans to focus on four key brands -- Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC -- under the more aggressive restructuring that has been ordered by President Barack Obama's autos task force.

The contemplated sale of the military-derived Hummer brand comes at a point where fuel-thirsty SUVs have fallen out of favor with consumers. GM had said mid-February it expected to make a final determination on Hummer by the end of the first quarter.

"Certainly as I look at it, this is measured in weeks or days, not necessarily months at this point," Henderson said.

A decision on GM's Saturn brand is further out, he said. GM had planned to only offer Saturn vehicles through 2011, the end of its product life cycle and that has not changed under the more aggressive restructuring now contemplated, he said.

GM is considering various options for Saturn.

"Hummer is clearly a sale and you will get some announcements from us as to whether or not we are going to have a buyer relatively shortly," Henderson said. "Saturn is going to take a little bit more time."

(Reporting by David Bailey; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)

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