General Motors’ deal to sell its Hummer brand to a Chinese automaker fell through Wednesday and the company said it now plans to shut down the brand.
GM did not give any details about why the agreement to sell Hummer to Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machines Co. Ltd. could not be completed, saying only that it was disappointed it was unable to close the deal.
The large SUV brand is based on the Humvee military vehicle. It was always a niche vehicle but its image and sales were hit particularly hard by rising gasoline prices earlier this decade. Last year, GM only sold 9,046 Hummers, down 67% from 2008.
Hummer is the third brand that GM is being forced to shut down as part of its bankruptcy reorganization last year. A deal to sell Saturn fell through and GM is also closing the Pontiac brand, which it never attempted to sell.
Chinese automakers have shown interest in buying established western brands as companies there strive to become more global players. Geely is in the process of buying the Volvo brand from Ford Motor (F, Fortune 500) and Beijing Automotive Industry Holdings Co. bought the rights and technology to build some Saab models in China from GM.