Last Call for Hummer

General Motors’ efforts to sell the Hummer brand to another manufacturer have not been successful, and the automaker announced on Wednesday that it was going to begin making payments to dealers that would enable them to close their Hummer franchises.

The good news for anyone who might still covet one of the brand’s big S.U.V.’s is that G.M. is offering substantial rebates and special financing on the about 2,200 vehicles that remain unsold. According to CNNMoney.com, the automaker is offering either a $6,000 rebate or no-interest financing for six years on 2009 Hummer H2s and H3s, along with various incentives on other models.

But if you want an H2 you better move fast.

“I’d be surprised if there’s more than 20 H2s out there,” said Dan Frost, owner of two Detroit area Hummer dealerships and various other G.M. and Chrysler stores, in a telephone interview. “The H2 sold well. It was built by American General, and it was a unique vehicle.”

Mr. Frost said his Hummer dealerships had been doing well right up until the time that G.M. announced it would either sell or close out the brand. G.M. initiated talks with Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machines of China, but that deal fell through in February, and G.M. said it would wind down Hummer.

“We sold approximately 2,300 Hummers in the 2008 model year,” Mr. Frost said, and most of those were H3s. It was a popular vehicle. But I think the market became oversaturated. G.M. simply built too many. Instead of remaining a unique product, the H3 and the Hummer brand became somewhat of a commodity.”

According to Mr. Frost, Mike DiGiovanni, the G.M. marketing guru who helped bring Hummer into the G.M. fold, once said that an automaker should build 100 fewer vehicles than it had orders for. That strategy obviously changed as Hummer grew in popularity in the middle of the last decade and became something other than the somewhat outrageous and iconic vehicle that it had once been.

Despite the brand’s fall from grace, Mr. Frost said he expected to quickly sell the rest of his Hummer inventory.

“I have 27 vehicles at the two stores,” he said. “I’m going to take the money that G.M. is giving me to close down the dealerships and put it on the hood. So instead of an either/or deal on the rebate and financing, buyers can have both. If they want to arrange their own financing or pay cash, I’ll give them a $10,000 rebate.”

Mr. Frost also said that when his Hummer inventory was depleted, he planned on asking G.M. to bring in more vehicles from dealerships that were unable to sell them. He also intended to keep one of his two Hummer dealerships open for at least another year to service his customers.

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