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When General Motors dropped the Hummer brand from its lineup at the end of 2010, few could have imagined the nameplate would ever make a comeback. Hummer was so closely associated with excessive consumption and short-sighted corporate management that the moniker would seem forever doomed to the ashcan of automotive history.
by John Biel
Note: The following story was excerpted from the December 2018 issue of Collectible Automobile magazine.
Hummer was badly wounded in 2008, first by the rapid rise in gasoline prices and then by the increasingly shaky economy. Ultimately, though, the brand was a casualty of General Motors’s June 1, 2009, bankruptcy filing, and with it went an intriguing vehicle that was snuffed out soon after its arrival.
Created for the U.S. military, the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV, and more colloquially, Humvee) was engineered as a replacement for the M151 jeep vehicles and other light trucks that were previously the Armed Forces’ primary modes of light-duty transportation.
General Motors wasn’t the only company to have its financial frailty exposed by the 2008 financial meltdown, but it was among the corporate giants that very nearly didn’t survive the crisis. Saddled with more brands than Mike and Carol Brady had kids, it became clear that Sophie’s Choice-level decisions needed to be made.
We at Consumer Guide often let major anniversaries slip by unnoticed, instead paying undue attention to lesser milestones. In keeping with that fine tradition, we honor the introduction of the poster child for wasteful motoring. And yes — it really has been ten years since you first saw a Hummer H2.
History has been unkind to the Hummer brand, and for the most part, rightly so. It would be hard to point at any General Motors project that better demonstrated a culture of commercial crassness, environmental tone-deafness, and just plain shortsightedness.
This military-themed SUV from General Motors’ Hummer division gets a new engine and transmission for what the company says is H1’s final model year.
AM General started selling the civilian version of the U.S. Army’s newest run-about vehicle in 1992. Since then it has remained a vehicle purchased by two groups of people: those looking for ultimate off-road ability and the ultra-rich seeking the ultimate status symbol.