Hummer is coming back, electrified
Way back when, Renault bought a controlling interest in American Motors (AMC). Since the government did not allow foreign companies to control military contractors, AMC had to spin off its military supply group, which became AM General.
The most visible product of AM General was the HMMWV (“Humvee”), which spawned the civilian Hummer. Because it was created by Jeep guys, it had a version of the Jeep grille. GM later signed a deal with AM General to create and sell a series of Hummers aside from the original, military-based H1, resulting in the Suburban-based H2 and the TrailBlazer-based H3. When fuel prices shot up in 2008, sales plummeted to near-nothing, and the once-trendy Hummer name became worthless; GM dropped it in 2010.
Now, GM is bringing back the Hummer brand, but it’s not an SUV any more; nor is it a brand unto itself. Instead, it will be an electric pickup truck, to be shown off next month in a Super Bowl ad using LeBron James, according to CNN Business and the Wall Street Journal—and following a rumor in June reported by Bloomberg.
The electric powertrain is interesting, given that the prior Hummer H2 and H3, being sturdy, off-road-capable vehicles based on not-quite-so-sturdy vehicles, were terribly inefficient. The H3, for example, was nearly as capable as the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon in theory, but managed to achieve 1 mpg less in city and highway mileage with its five-cylinder engine. It was also dreadfully underpowered with that motor (a V8 came later). To be fair, the Hummers were not too far off other off-road vehicles, including not-as-capable Toyotas.
Clark Westfield grew up fixing up and driving past-their-prime American cars, including various GM and Mopar V8s. He has ghostwritten auto news for the last few years, lives in Farmingdale, New York, and can be reached at +1.516-531-4021.