It’s official: GM is shutting down its Hummer brand, marking the end of an era for gas-guzzling SUV lovers everywhere. The company made the decision to shut down the brand when a $150 million deal to sell it to Chinese manufacturer Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machines fell through.
Unsurprisingly, environmental concerns factored into the decision. The potential buyer couldn’t get approval from the Chinese government, which has recently decided to place a priority on saving the environment and cutting down on imported oil. At the same time, both Chinese and Western banks refused to lend money to Tengzhong, presumably because of concerns that the brand wouldn’t perform well.
Does this mean that auto makers will consider shutting down other SUV brands? Probably not. Hummer isn’t the only GM brand to be shut down in recent months. Saturn is in the midst of shuttering its operations, and Saab was recently sold to Dutch manufacturer Spyker Cars.
The Hummer was a victim of high oil prices, but drivers have short memories–a drop in prices at the pump could easily lead to a surge in SUV sales. Car companies realize that oil prices will remain volatile for the foreseeable future, however, which is why so many of them have recently invested in hybrids (including hybrid SUVs). So instead of taking the Hummer news as an indication that our SUV days are behind us, let’s use it to fuel our determination for an age of clean, electric-powered cars–both large and small.