Hummer

Hummer

[huhm-er]
Hummer is a brand of off-road vehicles sold by General Motors, also known as GM. The H1 version was based on the military High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV, or Humvee). The H2 and the H3 were introduced as smaller civilian market versions.

History

Hummers were originally built by AM General Corporation, which was formerly AMC Jeep's General Products division, in its South Bend, Indiana assembly plant. AM General had planned to sell a civilian version of the Hum-Vee as far back as the late 1980s. In 1990, two matching white Hum-Vees 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 HMMWV received for its service in Operation: Desert Storm the following year.

In 1992, AM General began selling a civilian version of the M998 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV or Hum-Vee) vehicle to the public under the brand name "Hummer".

In 1998, AM General sold the brand name to General Motors, but continued to manufacture the vehicles. GM is responsible for the marketing and distribution of all Hummers produced by AM General. In the next few years, GM introduced two new homegrown 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 is contracted by GM to produce the H2. The H3 is built in Shreveport, LA alongside the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon pickups, with which it shares the GMT-355 platform (custom modified and designated GMT-345).

As of 2006, Hummer has gone international with selected importers and distributors in Europe and other markets.

Since October 10 2006, GM has been producing the Hummer H3 at its Port Elizabeth plant in South Africa for international markets. Hummers at the Port Elizabeth plant are built both for local South African consumption and exported to Australia in the 2008 model year. In Europe, the Middle East, and Japan, the H3 is also already available. As of October 2006, Hummer vehicles are marketed by about 300 dealers in 34 countries. 173 of those are in the U.S.

The H2 is also assembled in Kaliningrad, Russia, by Avtotor, starting in June 2004. The plant produces a few hundred vehicles annually, and its output is limited to local consumption (five dealers in Russia initially).

GM CEO Rick Wagoner has said the Hummer brand of trucks will run on Biofuel Powertrains at last year's Los Angeles International Auto Show.

The new 2008 model of the H2 boasted all new interior and a new more powerfull engine.

The future of the Hummer brand is in doubt. On Tuesday 3 June 2008, one day prior to GM's annual shareholder meeting, CEO Rick Wagoner said the brand is being reviewed, and has the possibility of either being sold, having the production line completely redesigned, or being discontinued. This is 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, one of them Mahindra & Mahindra, have expressed interest in purchasing all or part of Hummer.

Off-road abilities

As of August 2008, Hummer is the only brand in the United States whose entire model range lineup comes standard with a low-range transfer case, relatively high-ground clearance, and off-road tires. Additionally, no two-wheel drive Hummers are offered at this time.

Racing

Team Hummer Racing was created in 1993 and showcases the Hummer's abilities. Led by off-road racing legend 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. Only specialized racing shock absorbers, tires and other minor modifications are allowed, along with the required supporting components and mandatory safety equipment. Minor modifications are allowed to the powertrain, although the rules stipulate it must be based on the stock engine and transmission combination.

The team's latest victories came in April 2008, when Team HUMMER swept the stock class races at the Terrible's Town 250..

Team HUMMER has tallied one of the most impressive records in production-class racing, earning 11 class wins at the Baja 1000.

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

Hummer H1 compared with HMMWV

The Hummer H1 is basically a HMMWV built for civilian use; it has no armor or weapons fittings. However the powertrain, chassis, body, suspension, etc., are the same. The H1 differs from the HMMWV in having a civilian interior, including trim, comfortable seats, stereo radio, and air conditioning as standard options. As a result of its commercial use, features introduced in the civilian Hummer have been incorporated into improved military versions. The H1's electrical system is 12-volt, with the two batteries wired in parallel. The HMMWV runs on a 24-volt system, where the two batteries are run in series.

Owner efforts

Since all Hummer vehicles have heavy-duty capabilities, they have been employed by owners for aid in large disaster situations. Hummer Owners Prepared for Emergencies (HOPE) was created by the efforts of The Hummer Club, INC. and the American Red Cross. Together, the two organizations train Hummer owners with CPR and First Aid skills, and basic off-highway skills so that they may assist victims during a disaster situation. GM paid the Red Cross $4 million to participate in the organization.

Licensing

GM has been very active and effective in licensing the Hummer. Various companies have licensed the Hummer trademarks for use on colognes, flashlights, bicycles, shoes, coats, hats, laptops, clothing, CD players and other items.

Starting in the early Nineties, when AM General started selling to the civilian market, Hummers began making appearances in the Film and Television industry. Some earlier and noticeable appearances include seaQuest DSV which used the Hummer H1 in place of Humvees, and Earth 2 which featured a large, "solar-powered" Hummer Concept truck as their main mode of conveyance. More recently noticeable appearances include , being driven by the chief of the crime lab Lt. Horatio Caine (played by David Caruso), during the 6th season of CSI: MIAMI, they received all new 2008 H2's with redesigned interior and in the 2007 Transformers movie the Autobot known as Ratchet transforms into a search and rescue Hummer H2.

Criticisms

Criticism of Hummers includes all the criticism of SUVs in general, although at a higher degree. See Criticism of sport utility vehicles.

Specific extra criticisms of Hummers include: Poor fuel economy: Even compared to other heavy passenger vehicles, Hummers 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 EPA nor counted toward Corporate Average Fuel Economy. For instance, H2 in one engine configuration averages about on highways, in the city, and has a curb weight of over , making it technically illegal for use on some streets. Safety: Crash data for Hummers is less complete than for other SUVs. Because of its weight, it takes longer and further to stop in emergency braking situations. As a Class 3 truck, Hummers are exempt from many DOT safety regulations. 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.Size: Some Hummers are significantly bigger than other SUVs; this can cause problems parking, driving and fitting in a garage.Safety and ecology: Safety and ecological perceptions from other road users has attracted a lot of criticism. The Hummer (usually the H2) has been singled out and attacked as a symbol of ecological irresponsibility, sometimes using violent means.

Review of the brand

GM undertook a "strategic review" of the Hummer brand which could have involved revamping the product line or selling the brand. Although unlikely, it is also possible that brand could fold completely, as a result of high gas prices and environmental concerns making all large SUVs far less economically feasible and socially acceptable for many Americans.

On September 3rd, 2008, General Motors COO Fritz Henderson announced that he hoped to have the sale of the HUMMER brand complete by the end of 2008 or early 2009 at the latest. These statements effectively brought the strategic review to an end. At this time, GM has not announced any potential suitors, but has claimed "significant interest" in the brand.

Models

There are three current and possibly two future models in the HUMMER line:Production models

See also

References

External links

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