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Hummer sale: Only 2,200 left

By Peter Valdes-Dapena, senior writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- General Motors made it official on Wednesday: It is shutting down the Hummer SUV brand and offering rich rebates in a bid to move the remaining 2,200 vehicles.

Buyers can get $6,000 rebates on a 2009 model year Hummer H2 full-sized SUV or H3 mid-sized SUV.

$6,000 rebates on Hummer H3

GM is also offering $5,000 on the 2009 Hummer H3T, a pick-up version of the H3, and $4,000 on the few 2010 H3T's that were made and remain in stock.

Alternatively, buyers with good credit can get 0% financing for six years on all Hummer models.

Hummer H3 prices start at about $31,000.

GM sold fewer than 300 Hummers last month. Hummer sales, which had been suffering anyway largely because of the vehicle's reputation for poor fuel economy, have been hammered by uncertainty over the brand's future.

Even a $6,000 rebate may not make a new Hummer a good deal, though, said Jeannine Fallon, a spokeswoman for the automotive Web site Edmunds.com.

Even if the H3 entirely meets your needs, buyers who may want to sell or trade in the vehicle in a few years will want to think twice, she said.

"Five years from now, who's going to want your car?" Fallon said.

Hummer's image has been ravaged by environmentalists, she said, and its been damaged even further by the fact that GM decided to discontinue the brand. Besides that, she said, the fuel economy of relatively light-weight crossover SUVs will continue to improve, leaving Hummers even farther behind.

Fallon may be overestimating how much people care about brand image, countered Robyn Eckard, a spokeswoman for Kelley Blue Book's KBB.com.

"People used to care about brands and what a brand says about them," she said. "Nobody cares anymore."

Today's car shoppers are looking for deals, she said. And the same will be true in a few years. That big rebate will only make it that much easier for Hummer owners to offer a good deal in the used car market later, she said.

"Hummer is a good deal now, and it will be a good deal five years from now," she said.

The automaker announced last year that it was letting Hummer go as part of its restructuring plan. A planned sale of Hummer to a Chinese heavy equipment manufacturer, which would have allowed production of the SUVs to continue, fell through in February.

General Motors now retains only four brands: Cadillac, Buick, GMC and Chevrolet. Of the four brands GM dropped only one, the Swedish Saab brand, was successfully sold off. It has been purchased by Dutch exotic car manufacturer Spyker.

A plan to sell Saturn to the Penske Automotive Group, an auto dealership operator, fell through after no manufacturer could be found to supply vehicles for the brand after GM stopped. GM is also closing down the Pontiac brand. No attempt was ever made to sell it. To top of page

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