GM to halt Hummer production pending sale to China image

General Motors will halt Hummer production next week at its Louisiana plant until sale of the brand to a Chinese company is completed, The Associated Press reported.

Kevin Wale, president of G.M.’s China Group, said, meanwhile, that he was optimistic, but uncertain, the Hummer deal would be approved by Chinese government regulators.

G.M. agreed last year to sell Hummer, once synonymous with America’s love for big off-road vehicles, to Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Corp. It had expected the deal to close early in 2010 after approval by American and Chinese regulators.

Assembly of Hummers at G.M.’s Shreveport, La., plant will be suspended on Tuesday because there’s ‘’sufficient inventory in the field” to sustain dealers while the sale makes its way through the regulatory process, a Hummer spokesman, Nick Richards, said Wednesday.

The approval delay is because Tengzhong is not an established manufacturer, something normally required by Chinese governments, Mr. Wale said after a speech Wednesday at the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit.

“It’s not a recognized car manufacturer, and they have rules that require that people can’t just randomly go into key businesses,” Mr. Wale said. “They have to get approval so that they don’t end up with too many suppliers, too many people trying to compete in each industry. It’s not a specific issue associated with Tengzhong or Hummer. It’s just a structural management of their economy.”

It was unclear how jobs would be affected at the plant in Shreveport, which also builds Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon pickup trucks, Mr. Richards said.