History of the Hummer

Hummer_H3_H1_and_H2_2

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 (GM) 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.

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. On February 24, 2010, Reuters reported that the Chinese ministry of commerce had prevented the deal, although a ministry spokesperson denied rejecting the application, which had been stalled for eight months. At the end of February, General Motors announced it would begin dismantling the Hummer brand.

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

The original Hummers were first designed by AM General Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Motors (AMC), and built in its Mishawaka, Indiana, assembly plant. In 1979, the United States Army was seeking contractors for a new “High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicle” which could follow the tracks and ruts of full size army trucks (HMMWV). Among the four competitors for the contract, AM General designed an entirely new vehicle to meet the Army’s requirements.[9] In less than one year, it was the first to deliver a prototype vehicle. Initial production versions were delivered to the Army’s proving grounds in April 1982.

After testing was completed AM General was awarded the contract to supply its HMMWV to the United States armed forces. The first models were built in a variety of military-based equipment and versions. The first contract was in 1983, worth US$1.2 billion to produce 55,000 “Humvees” by 1985.[10] The first production vehicle was assembled by AM General on January 2, 1985. The contract was later increased for an additional 15,000 units.

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. The civilian model began in part because of the persistence of Arnold Schwarzenegger, who saw an Army convoy while filming a movie.

In 1992, AM General began selling a civilian version of the M998 Humvee vehicle to the public under the brand name “Hummer”.

GM purchase

In December 1999, AM General sold the brand name to General Motors, but continued to manufacture the vehicles. 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, and was contracted by GM to produce the H2. The H3 was built in Shreveport, LA alongside the Chevrolet Coloradoand 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 Hutstyle roof, themed to the Hummer brand’s military origins.

By 2006, the Hummer began to be exported and sold through importers and distributors in 33 countries. On October 10, 2006, GM began producing the Hummer H3 at its Port Elizabeth plant in South Africa for international markets. 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. 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. 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.

In April 2009, GM President Fritz Henderson stated several interested parties had approached GM regarding the Hummer business.

Read more at Wikipedia


August 22, 2014

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