Hummer, the General Motors Corp. sport-utility vehicle unit being sold to a Chinese machinery maker, is considering Michigan and Tennessee as headquarters sites, the division’s chief said.
The locations under study include Detroit and the area around Nashville, “where other automotive manufacturers have chosen to collect,” Hummer Chief Executive Officer Jim Taylor said Monday in an interview.
Separating from Detroit-based GM means Hummer must create corporate offices as it prepares to start building SUVs under the ownership of Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co. Chengdu, China-based Tengzhong has a preliminary agreement to take on Hummer’s dealer accords and senior management.
“We are building a new culture, looking around and benchmarking a lot of the cool companies, the Googles of the world, the places you read about and think ‘It would be cool to work there,’” Taylor said. “Now I actually get to do it.”
Taylor, 52, didn’t set a timetable to pick a headquarters as GM sheds Hummer while restructuring in bankruptcy. Nick Richards, a spokesman, said Hummer is reviewing multiple cities and won’t disclose a site until closer to the deal’s closing, which GM and Tengzhong have said should come next quarter.
GM, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC are based in or near Detroit, while Nissan Motor Co.’s U.S. operations are about 20 miles south of Nashville in Franklin.
Hummer will have 100 or fewer corporate employees and contract with GM for manufacturing, Taylor said. He said he has picked about 25 GM employees to take to Hummer. The sale will protect more than 3,000 U.S. jobs, the companies have said.
GM is disposing of Hummer along with three other U.S. brands to shrink operations. The automaker will have four domestic nameplates once it restructures.
Taylor said Hummer still expects the sale to Tengzhong to proceed. That prospect was questioned in a June 4 report by the state-owned Shanghai Securities News that the transaction was unlikely to win approval because China’s government wants companies to buy overseas partsmakers, not automakers.
“It’s pretty hard for us to have an accurate pulse on the approval process in Beijing on this,” Taylor said. “Nothing has popped out of the process that has said ‘OK, hold it, we’ve hit a roadblock.’"