Hummer

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Hummer
Former type Division
Industry Automotive
Founded 1992
Defunct May 24, 2010
Headquarters Detroit, Michigan, United States
Products (H1) pickup truck, SUV (H2, H3), Sport utility vehicles
Parent General Motors
Website www.hummer.com

Contents

Introduction

2006 Hummer lineup: H3, H1, and H2 (L-R)

Hummer was a brand of trucks and SUVs, first marketed in 1992 when AM General began selling a civilian version of the M998 Humvee. In 1998, General Motors purchased the brand name and marketed three vehicles: the original Hummer H1, based on the Humvee; and the H2 and H3 models that were based on smaller, civilian-market GM platforms.

Models

List of Hummer models


Return to the Main Page

History

By 2008, Hummer's viability in the economic downturn was being questioned, and it was placed under review by GM management. Rather than being transferred to Motors Liquidation Company as part of the GM bankruptcy in 2009, the brand was retained by GM, in order to investigate its sale.

In 2009, a Chinese manufacturer, Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Company, announced that it would acquire Hummer, pending government approvals, but later withdrew its bid.[1] On February 24, 2010, Reuters reported that the Chinese ministry of commerce had prevented the deal,[2] although a ministry spokesperson denied rejecting the application, which had been stalled for eight months.[3] At the end of February, General Motors announced it would begin dismantling the Hummer brand.[4]

Although the automaker announced two days later that it had been approached with new offers,[5] by April 2010, any sale became unlikely, as inventory was depleted and Hummer dealerships began shutting down.[6] After filling a rental-car fleet order, the last Hummer H3 rolled off the line at Shreveport on May 24, 2010.[7]

History

Origin

The original Hummers were first designed and built by AM General Corporation, which was formerly AMC-Jeep's General Products division,[8] in its Mishawaka, Indiana, assembly plant. The vehicles were created under a contract for the United States armed forces. The first model, the Humvee, was built in a variety of military-based equipment and versions. The US$1.2 billion contract won by AM General in 1983 was to produce 55,000 Humvees by 1985, which was later increased by 15,000 additional units.[9]

AM General had planned to sell a civilian version of the Humvee as far back as the late 1980s. Having the same structure and most mechanical components, the civilian Hummers were finished in automotive gloss paint, adding passenger car enhancements such as air conditioning, sound insulation, upgraded upholstery, stereo systems, wood trim, and convenience packages.[10] The civilian model began in part because of the persistence of Arnold Schwarzenegger, who saw an Army convoy while filming a movie.[11]

In 1990, two matching white Humvees were driven from London to Beijing over the rough roads of central Soviet Union. The Hummers made the trip with ease, for they were built to drive on off-road terrain. The highlights of this journey were broadcast in the United States on ESPN. This publicity would pale in comparison to the attention that the Humvee received for its service in Gulf War Operation: Desert Storm, the following year.Template:Fix Also, a privately-owned Humvee was modified into the first Snow-Vee, including the addition of caterpillar tracks, a new rear compartment and a new engine. This vehicle was designed for use in and just below the Arctic Circle, and the Antarctic.

In 1992, AM General began selling a civilian version of the M998 Humvee vehicle to the public under the brand name "Hummer".[9]

GM purchase

In December 1999, AM General sold the brand name to General Motors, but continued to manufacture the vehicles.[9] GM was responsible for the marketing and distribution of all Hummers produced by AM General. Shortly thereafter, GM introduced two of its own design models, the H2 and H3, and renamed the original vehicle H1. AM General continued to build the H1 until it was discontinued in 2006,[12] and was contracted by GM to produce the H2. The H3 was built in Shreveport, LA alongside the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon pickups, with which it shared the GMT-355 platform (modified and designated GMT-345). Hummer dealership buildings featured an over sized half Quonset Hut style roof, themed to the Hummer brand's military origins.[13]

By 2006, the Hummer began to be exported and sold through importers and distributors in 33 countries.[14] On October 10, 2006, GM began producing the Hummer H3 at its Port Elizabeth plant in South Africa for international markets.[14] The Hummers built there at first were only left-hand drive, but right-hand drive versions were added and exported to Australia and other markets.

The H2 was also assembled in Kaliningrad, Russia, by Avtotor, starting in 2006 and ending in 2009.[15] The plant produced a few hundred vehicles annually, and its output was limited to local consumption with five dealers in Russia.

On June 3, 2008, one day prior to GM's annual shareholder meeting, Rick Wagoner, GM's CEO at that time, said the brand was being reviewed, and had the possibility of either being sold, having the production line completely redesigned, or being discontinued.[16] This was due to the decreasing demand for large SUVs as a result of higher oil prices. Almost immediately after the announcement, a pair of Indian automakers, including Mahindra & Mahindra, expressed interest in purchasing all or part of Hummer.[17]

GM President Fritz Henderson stated several interested parties approached GM regarding the Hummer business. On April 5, 2009, Société de Participation Financière Eidos Canada Inc. (Eidos) made an unsolicited bid for Hummer.

Failed sale

On June 1, 2009, as a part of the General Motors bankruptcy announcement, the company revealed that the Hummer brand would be discontinued. However, the following day GM announced that instead it had reached a deal to sell the brand to an undisclosed buyer.[18] After GM announced that same day that the sale was to an undisclosed Chinese company,[19] CNN and the New York Times identified the buyer of the Hummer truck unit as China-based Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Company Ltd.[20][21][22] Later that day, Sichuan Tengzhong itself announced the deal on their own website.

On January 6, 2010, GM CEO Ed Whitacre said he hopes to close the deal with Tengzhong by the end of January 2010.[23] On February 1, 2010 it was announced that Sichuan and General Motors had agreed to extend the deadline until the end of February as Sichuan tried to get approval by the Chinese government.[24] It was also revealed that the price tag of the Hummer brand was $150 million.[25]

Later, on February 24, 2010, GM announced the Tengzhong deal had collapsed and the Hummer brand would soon shut down.[26] There were reports that Sichuan Tengzhong might pursue the purchase of the Hummer brand from GM by purchasing it privately through the company's new J&A Tengzhong Fund SPC, a private equity investment fund owned by an offshore entity that was recruiting private investors to buy into its acquisition plan.[27] The financial markets posed problems for established borrowers and even more for Tengzhong, a little-known company from western China, at the same time as the potential value of the Hummer brand continued to decline given high fuel prices and weak consumer demand.[28]

The company announced it was willing to consider offers for all or part of the assets. American company Raiser along with several others expressed interest in buying the company. However, on April 7, 2010, this attempt failed as well, and General Motors officially said it was shutting down the Hummer SUV brand and offering rich rebates in a bid to move the remaining 2,200 vehicles.[29][30]

Models

Customized Hummer H2
The Hummer H3

Hummer H1

The first vehicle in the Hummer range was the Hummer H1, based on the Humvee. Originally released in 1992, this vehicle was designed by American Motors' AM General subsidiary for the U.S. Military. Five years previously, AMC had been bought by Chrysler.

Hummer H2

The Hummer H2 was the second vehicle in the Hummer range. There were two variations: The H2 SUV and H2 SUT.

Hummer H3

The H3 and H3T truck were the smallest of the Hummer models and were based on the GMT355 platform shared with the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon compact pickup trucks.

Hummer concept car

The Hummer HX was developed in 2008 as an open-air, two-door off-road concept car, smaller than other Hummer models.

Plug-in Hybrid

Raser Technologies of Utah was to use technology similar to that in the Chevy Volt. Raser unveiled the prototype the 2009 Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress in Detroit.[31] Using their E-REV (Extended-Range Electric Vehicle) powertrain technology, the Hummer plug-in hybrid would run up to 40 miles per day on its battery alone, then a small 4-cylinder internal combustion engine would start to generate more electricity.[32]

Racing

File:HummerH31.jpg
Rod Hall in the 2005 Baja 1000
Robby Gordon's Dakar Rally H3

Team Hummer Racing was created in 1993 and showcases the Hummer's abilities. Led by off-road racer Rod Hall, Team Hummer competes in the Stock classes of both BitD and SCORE, which feature production-based vehicles with stock frames, stock suspension designs, and production-based engines. Specialized racing shock absorbers, tires, and other minor modifications are allowed, along with the required supporting components and mandatory safety equipment. Team Hummer stock-class H3 driven by Hall finished first in class with the H3 in the 2005 Baja 1000.

Team Hummer earned 11 production-class wins at the Baja 1000.

A highly modified, two-wheel drive Hummer was raced by Robby Gordon in the 2006, 2007 (8th place), 2009 (3rd place), and 2010 (8th place) Dakar Rally.

Licensing

GM had been active in licensing the Hummer. Various companies licensed the Hummer trademarks for use on colognes, flashlights, bicycles, shoes, coats, hats, laptops, toys, clothing, CD players, and other items. Some are still sold through a website.[33]

Production facilities

All Hummer production ended in 2009.

  • AM General Hummer H1 Assembly Plant, Mishawaka, Indiana – 500,000-square-foot (46,000 m2) plant opened 1984 to build HMMWV(HUMVEE) and began production of the Hummer/H1 in 1992. H1 production ceased 2006.
  • AM General Hummer H2 Assembly Plant, Mishawaka, Indiana – 673,000-square-foot (62,500 m2) plant opened 2002. H2 production ended 2009.
  • General Motors South Africa Struandale Assembly Plant, Port Elizabeth, East Cape, South Africa - built in 1996, expanded to 75,625-square-metre (814,020 sq ft)to build H3 models. H3 production ended 2009.
  • General Motors Shreveport Operations, Shreveport, Louisiana – in 2005 an additional 296,000-square-foot (27,500 m2) was added to plant built by GM in 1981 to accommodate the production of the H3. In July 2009, GM had shut down Hummer production of the H3, but the automaker had a special fleet order from Avis Rent a Car System.[34]
  • Avtotor Kaliningrad, Russia – licensed version of H2 starting in 2006 and ended in 2009.

Owner efforts

Hummer vehicles have been called into use during disaster situations. An organization, Hummer Owners Prepared for Emergencies (HOPE), was created by the Hummer Club and the American Red Cross.[35] It trains volunteer Hummer owners with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and first aid skills, as well as basic off-highway skills so that they may assist victims during a disaster situation. GM had paid the Red Cross $4 million to participate in the organization.[36]

Criticisms

Criticism of Hummers includes the criticism of SUVs in general, although at a higher degree. Specific extra criticisms of Hummers include:

Size
Hummers (specifically the H1 and H2) are significantly bigger than other SUVs; this can cause problems parking, driving and fitting in a garage. Their large size also potentially poses a serious threat to smaller vehicles.[37]
Ecology
Safety and ecological perceptions from other road users has attracted a lot of criticism.[38][39] The Hummer (usually the H2) has been singled out and attacked, sometimes using violent means, as a symbol of ecological irresponsibility.[40][41][42]
Poor fuel economy
Even compared to other heavy passenger vehicles, Hummers without the Diesel engine options have very poor fuel economy. Because the H2 is built to the over-8500-lb GVW class, its fuel economy is neither published by the U.S. EPA nor counted toward Corporate Average Fuel Economy.[43] For instance, H2 in one engine configuration averages about 14 mpg-US (17 L/100 km; 17 mpg-imp) on highways, 10 mpg-US (24 L/100 km; 12 mpg-imp) in the city, and has a curb weight of over 6,000 lb (2,700 kg), making it technically illegal for use on some streets in the U.S.[44]
Safety
Crash data for Hummers is less complete than for other SUVs. As a Class 3 truck, the Hummer is exempt from many DOT safety regulations.[45] The H1 lacks standard safety features, including child safety locks, child seat tethers, side air bags, and stability control. Large blind spots make parking difficult and possibly dangerous.[45]
Drivers
A one-year long study conducted by a firm that provides statistical information to insurance companies so they can determine rates found that drivers of H2 and H3 Hummers receive about five times as many traffic tickets as the national average for all vehicles (standardized based on the number of violations per 100,000 miles driven).[46]

References

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  2. Kim, Soyoung; Bailey, David (24 February 2010). "GM to shut down Hummer after China deal fizzles". Reuters. http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE61N5XE20100224. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  3. Ho, Patricia (24 February 2010). "China Commerce Ministry denies reports it rejected Hummer deal". MarketWatch. http://www.marketwatch.com/story/china-commerce-ministry-denies-reports-it-rejected-hummer-deal-2010-02-24. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  4. Ramzy, Austin (2010–02–25). "A Deal Sours, and the Hummer Bites the Dust". Time. http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1967957,00.html. Retrieved 2010–02–29. 
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  32. "100 MPG Hummer H3 Plug-In Hybrid to be Unveiled". AllCarsElectric.com. April 13, 2009. http://www.allcarselectric.com/blog/1020028_raser-to-show-hummer-h2-plug-in-hybrid. Retrieved 2010–06–09. 
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  41. Joyner, James (2007-07-19). "Eco-Terrorists Vandalize Hummer". Outside The Beltway. http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/archives/2007/07/eco-terrorists_vandalize_hummer/. Retrieved 2010-09-06. 
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  43. "Road Test: 2003 Hummer H2: a tweaked Tahoe or the real thing?", Motor Trend magazine, retrieved on June 23, 2008.
  44. "Road Test: 2003 Hummer H2, Overview", Motor Trend magazine, retrieved on June 23, 2008.
  45. 45.0 45.1 "Hummer FAQ - Little Known Facts About Hummer H1 and H2 Vehicles". 4wheeldrive.about.com. 2009-06-11. http://4wheeldrive.about.com/od/highlightshummer/a/hummerhistory_4.htm. Retrieved 2010-09-06. 
  46. Travers, Jim (2009-10-06). "Hummer drivers lead in tickets". Consumer Reports. http://blogs.consumerreports.org/cars/2009/10/hummer-drivers-lead-in-tickets-national-average-car-tickets-study.html. Retrieved 2010–05–09. 

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