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Pendragon is Hummer favourite

GM wants to couple next year’s European relaunch of Cadillac with distribution of Hummer, and Pendragon is favourite to land the UK concession.

A Hummer announcement was first planned for Geneva where GM revealed the Cadillac BLS (on sale in Europe next year) and new Hummer H3. Now, ambitions for Hummer in Europe are likely to be outlined at Frankfurt this autumn.

Jim Smith, GM’s Cadillac general manager, says: “We are not far enough advanced to talk about European distribution but our intention is to establish both Cadillac and Hummer.

“I can’t say whether Pendragon will distribute Hummer but it would make life easy for us to have the same set-up as with Cadillac.”

Pendragon will sell Cadillacs in the UK with the Dutch Kroymans Corporation taking the rest of Europe. Smith rates Britain’s biggest dealer group highly.

Hummers are unofficially imported by some UK companies but getting the big 4x4s here officially seems to hinge on GM production plans. Last year Hummer launched the 15ft 6in H3, more to British tastes than the massive H2.

Trevor Finn, Pendragon chief executive, says: “If the H3 is built in right-hand drive, we would expect to be retailing it in the UK – but it would be our choice if it were left-hand drive.”

Cadillac’s Jim Smith and Hummer general manager Amy Schlueter are working together on global distribution of the two brands. GM has a long-term commitment to selling Cadillacs in Europe and plans to build volumes slowly. Last year’s total was 1,500, rising this year to between 3,000/5,000 – the target by 2010 is 20,000.

More Hummers in Britain would raise temperatures among ‘greens’ who want SUVs banned or taxed more heavily. GM won a contract in 1983 to build 55,000 for the US Army and started making the more refined H1 for private sales in 1992.

Since 1999, GM has distributed Hummers through its dealer networks.Hummer is derived from the miltary designation HMMWV (high mobility multi-purpose wheels vehicle).

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