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Hummer is a former marque of trucks sold by Motors Liquidation Company (the company left over from General Motors' bankruptcy, aka the old GM). The original Hummer H1 was based on the military High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV, or Humvee). However, the Hummer H2 and the Hummer H3 were based on other, smaller civilian-market vehicles.

Chinese automaker Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Company announced in 2009 that it will acquire the Hummer brand pending government approvals. However, the People's Republic of China rejected the deal on February 24, 2010, and GM has decided to retire the brand.[1] There have been reports that Sichuan Tengzhong may pursue the purchase of the Hummer brand from GM by purchasing it privately through the companies new J&A Tengzhong Fund SPC, a private equity investment fund owned by an offshore entity that is already recruiting private investors to buy into its acquisition plan.[2]


Hummers were traditionally built by AM General Corporation, formerly the heavy industries division of American Motors, in its Mishawaka, Indiana assembly plant. AM General had planned to sell a civilian version of the Hummer as far back as the late 1980s. In 1990, two matching white Hummers were driven from London, UK to Beijing, People's Republic of China over the rough roads of the central Soviet Union. The Hummers made the drive with ease, and highlights of this journey were broadcast on ESPN in the United States. The publicity would pale in comparison to the attention that the HMMWV received for its service in Operation: Desert Storm the following year.

In 1991, 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. According to legend, they began doing so after Arnold Schwarzenegger asked them to; apparently, he was impressed by a convoy of Hum-Vees that drove by while filming "Kindergarten Cop" in 1990. In 1999, 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 to H1. AM General continues to build the H1 and is contracted by GM to produce the H2. The H3 is built in Shreveport, LA.

As of 2004, Hummer has gone international with selected importers and distributors in Europe and other markets. It has only been sold in small volumes, but some celebrities and business people have bought Hummers to satisfy their curiosity. Markets such as Australia have shown interest in Hummers with importers converting the latest H3 to right hand drive despite GM not officially selling the brand in Australia.

From 2006, GM will be building/assembling the Hummer H3 at the Port Elizabeth plant in South Africa to make Hummers internationally available. Hummers at the Port Elizabeth plant will be built for local South African consumption and exported to Australia, the United Kingdom and Japan.

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 only (five dealers in Russia initially).

On May 12, 2006, GM announced it would cease production of the original H1 Hummer.

Former GM CEO Rick Wagoner once said at the Los Angeles Auto Show said that the Hummer Brand of trucks will run on Biodiesel. However, this plan never came to fruition.

On January 02, 2009, As a result of General Motor's Chapter 11 bankruptcy, breakup and subsequent nationalization stemming from poor sales and perception of the automotive juggernaut, exacerbated by the 2009 Global Economic Recession, GM confirmed the sale of its 4x4 division, Hummer, to a relative unknown - People's Republic of China's Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co. LTD. It is expected this sale will save 3000 jobs in the US.

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.[3] After GM announced that same day that the sale was to an undisclosed Chinese company[4], CNN and the New York Times identified the buyer of the Hummer truck unit as China-based Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Company Ltd.[5][6][7] 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.[8] On 1 February 2010 it was announced that Sichuan and General Motors had agreed to extend the deadline till the end of February as Sichuan tried to get approval by the Chinese government.[9] It was also revealed that the price tag of the Hummer brand was $150 million.[10]

On February 24, 2010, the deal fell through, and it was announced that the Hummer brand would soon shut down.[11] The company has announced they are willing to consider offers for all or part of the assets.


The first two Hummer models are large, heavy vehicles with large engines and complex drivelines. The H3 is smaller and geared more towards people who want an everyday SUV. They also feature aggressive styling and advertising, setting them apart from competing models. This has made them a target of criticism, as many people view Hummers as ill-suited for use as a passenger vehicle on public streets. As fuel prices have risen, detractors have also singled out the Hummer as an egregious waster of resources—a charge based largely on the Hummer's fuel consumption and size.

Since both the H1 and H2 can weigh over 8,500 lb (3855 kg)(GVWR), the United States fuel economy regulations do not apply to them. GM does not disclose their expected fuel economy ratings, and the company is not required to display a Monroney sticker on the vehicles, although that is to change by 2011 under regulations announced in March 2006. However, expected mpg ratings can be derived from their fuel capacity and range ratings. These metrics show that the Diesel H1 is expected to reach 16 mpg (U.S.), while the H2 should get 9.6 mpg. Car and Driver magazine observed 12 mpg with their H2 SUV.

When GM discontinued the H1 in May of 2006, the Sierra Club's Daniel Becker remarked, "It's one thing if it's carrying soldiers to and from a fight, it's another if it's hauling lattes home from Starbucks." Becker maintains the Sierra Club's Hummerdinger website.

Hummer H1 vs HMMWV

The Hummer H1 is basically a HMMWV built for civilian use, hence it has no armor or weapons. However, the drivetrain, frame, body, suspension, etc, are exactly the same. The H1 differs from the HMMWV in the fact that it has a civilian interior, including trim, comfortable seats, stereo, and Air Conditioning as standard options. Innovations introduced in the civilian Hummer to satisfy the demanding consumer have been later incorporated into improved military versions.


File:800px-2006 Hummer H3 H1 and H2.jpg

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

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


General Motors has been very active in licensing the Hummer brand. Various companies have licensed the Hummer trademarks for use on colognes, flashlights, bicycles, laptops, apparel, jewelry, CD players and other items.

Hummers in popular culture

  • California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was the first private citizen to own a Hummer and continues to own several.
  • Additionally, many rappers enjoy driving Hummers, namely 50 Cent.
  • In the car chase scene in The Rock, Sean Connery's character drives a Hummer H1.
  • Hummer H2s can be seen on CSI Miami. The investigators, most notably Horatio Caine, drive them to the crime scenes.
  • The character Vincent Chase on the HBO television series Entourage owns a yellow H2.
  • Nearly a decade before the Hummer was available to the general public, Car and Driver named the Humvee as the #1 vehicle to own in New York City, citing its ability to handle uneven terrain.


See also

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