Monthly Archives: January 2020

Will GM Revive the Hummer?

Is it true that General Motors Co. may revive the Hummer name to sell a new family of electric pickups and SUVs. Those watching the Super Bowl may want to look for the ad featuring NBA star LeBron James, according to those in the know.

If so, the vehicles will be sold under the GMC nameplate. Reuters reported in October of last year that GM is planning to build a new family of premium electric pickups at its Detroit Hamtramck plant, due late 2021.

The Wall Street Journal also reported GM’s decision to move forward earlier, though GM declined to comment. It’s said that GM is considering selling the battery-powered truck in existing dealerships under the marketing name “Hummer by GMC,” reported Bloomberg

GM also has a large SUV in the works for Hummer. It will be produced soon after the pickup truck if the brand relaunch proves successful, according to Bloomberg.

If the company follows through with that plan, it would address the two biggest problems that doomed Hummer 10 years ago: its gas-guzzling image and its costly network of stand-alone showrooms.r

This writer remembers and loved the Hummer well. Driving the Hummer 1 and 2 was folly, but once the Hummer 3 hit the road, it was just the right “BIG” vehicle I would have chosen. In fact, thoughts have often crossed my mind to find a pre-driven 3. It’s not a lot different than driving the Chevy Tahoe or Escalade extra-large SUV’s.

For those who remember, Hummer was a rugged, off-road brand with roots in the military. Dropped in 2010 after GM’s 2009 bankruptcy that also resulted in the demise of Pontiac, Saturn and Saab,GM eventually shuttered Hummer after a deal to sell the brand to an obscure Chinese machinery maker was blocked by Chinese regulators.

GM acquired the Hummer brand in 1998 and sales of the vehicle peaked in 2006 before declining precipitously at the end of that decade as gasoline prices soared, hurting demand for the 10-miles-per-gallon Hummer H2.

Rumor mill says GM plans to build four electric vehicles at its Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant in Michigan by the end of 2023. (LMC Automotive told Automotive News, November 2019).

Detroit-Hamtramck was one of four U.S. plants slated to close last year as part of a sweeping restructuring plan, but it was spared by the new labor contract with the automaker that UAW members ratified in October. GM agreed to invest $3 billion to use the factory to build electric pickup trucks and vans.

GM’s involvement in Hummer started in the early ’90s, when it contracted with AM General to sell the civilian version of the HMMWV — High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle — or Humvee, which it called the H1. Then in 1999, GM bought the brand outright and launched the H2 and H3, smaller Hummers based on GM’s rear-wheel-drive platforms. Sales in the U.S. peaked at just over 71,000 in 2006.

Production of the rumored Hummer and another EV likely will start in 2021. It will be followed by electric Sierras and Escalades in 2023, LMC Automotive said.

The investment moves the automaker into a part of the EV market that is largely untested and where GM has a higher likelihood of turning a profit, analysts said. Not alone in EV products, GM is trailing behind Ford, Rivian and Tesla.

Electric versions of pickups and SUVs – the heart of the U.S. market – could help Ford and GM generate the significant sales of EVs they will need to meet tougher emission standards and electric vehicle mandates.

It’s been said if General Motors could have one do-over from its bankruptcy a decade ago, it wouldn’t be to bring back the Pontiac brand. Rather, it had to be Hummer.

Surprisingly, GM still makes money off Hummer. “We own the trademarks, rights, etc. for the Hummer brand. It is utilized today for parts, accessories and licensed products,” said spokesman Jim Cain.

After all that, GM says they have no plans to relaunch the brand. Several reporters have broached the subject with a variety of GM executives, who have quickly shrugged off that notion. But they know what they had and what they lost.

Guess we’ll wait and see.

(Richard Truett, Automotive News).