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Ho Hum as Hummer goes East

Editorial Staff

General Motors is breaking up. When this newspaper suggested that US car makers had too many competing brands and not enough direction, plus too many attempts to fill niches which are best filled by specialist manufacturers, that view was not popular. Now that approach is at the core of GM's rescue plan as Hummer and Opel are sold off.

Actually, if we had been at the helm, Hummer would have gone long ago but Vauxhall-Opel would have been retained.

In the USA, we would have kept Chevrolet driving it to compact - mid sized cars with high-tech and fuel efficiency as their primary hook

We would have dumped Buick, Saturn and Cadillac.

We would have supported SAAB - and given it back its independence and design capacity and brought that into the space vacated by Cadillac but without the bling. SAAB make large cars in small bodies that go fast and use remarkably little fuel because of their design.

We would have kept Holden and expanded its markets across South East Asia and into China.

We would have exited the SUV market entirely.

We would have used DAEWOO to build small cars cheaply and efficiently and ship them to the USA under the Chevrolet brand.

We would have kept GMC - but made its trucks more fuel efficient.

And we would have reconsidered the Chevrolet Camaro due for launch within the next year or so on the basis that a "highway mileage" of 20MPG is nothing to be proud of especially when the highway speeds are restricted to the car should be sipping fuel at worst.And the "mid-size crossovers" the Chevy Equinox and GMC Terrain " class-leading highway fuel economy of 32 mpg" should also be heading for the dump.

We would have taken the Vauxhall Opel range with its excellent small Corsa and Astra models, and even the hugely improved Vectra, and told US consumers that this is where car design and manufacturing is going. And we would have built them in Europe where high quality production is routine.

GM already has a superb range of cars around the world - but it insists on trying to be American. That's why it is where it is now. Even Americans aren't buying that any more - or at least not in big enough numbers.

So SAAB is in administration; Opel has been sold (subject to a stack of paperwork) to a Canadian car parts company from under the noses of Fiat (not a deal that made a lot of sense anyway) and Hummer is being sold to a Chinese heavy industry player.

The proposed purchasers of Opel have declined to say if they will keep Vauxhall going. But GM is not letting go of Holden - possibly the one really good decision they have made so far.