Future of Hummer brand still under discussion by GM

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - General Motors continues to struggle with high fuel prices, and is now said to be considering more cuts as the market shrinks.

KSLA News 12 has already confirmed the usual two-week summer shutdown at Shreveport's GM Truck Plant has been extended to three weeks this year. The plant turns out the Hummer H3, Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon trucks.

GM, which has eight brands, announced last month that it was reviewing Hummer for possible sale. The company on Monday denied that other nameplates are under review.

But a person familiar with GM's internal discussions says brands other than Hummer are being studied. The person wanted to remain anonymous because no decisions have been made.

David Healy, an auto analyst with Burnham Securities, said while Hummer is unique in terms of engineering and manufacturing and could be sold, other brands share vehicle underpinnings and manufacturing and are so integrated it would be tough to sever them.

GM spokeswoman Renee Rashid-Merem said Hummer is the only brand being discussed for possible sale. She would not comment on job cuts but said the company has made it clear that action would be taken if the U.S. auto market worsened.

This comes as the company tries to cope with the dramatic shift in consumer buying habits from trucks to cars and crossover vehicles.

Healy said GM probably will have to make further blue-collar job cuts as the market continues to decline. Its sales are down 16.3 percent this year.

Further job cuts could be considered by GM's board of directors when it meets in early August, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

GM announced last month it would close four truck and sport utility vehicle plants and boost production of several existing car models.

The stock closed Monday at $10.24, up 12 cents or 1.2 percent. It has traded as high as $43.20 in the past year.

Critics have said GM still has too much fat in its middle management, despite cutting white-collar employment to 32,000 last year from 44,000 in 2000. They also say the engineering, manufacturing and marketing costs are too high for it to keep all eight of its brands.

(Some information provided by Associated Press)