There are few nameplates that carry as heavy of a negative connotation as Hummer. Initially a civilianized military vehicle, the brand would go on to morph into the perfect example of American excess during the early years of the millennium. The truck’s massive size was matched only by its unquenchable thirst for that sweet dino-juice. That’s all changed now though, as the GMC Hummer EV has debuted as the first electric pickup truck from General Motors. MC&T recently spoke with Vice President of Global Buick and GMC Duncan Aldred to discuss how the Hummer name returned, and how it ended up in the GMC fold.
As it turns out, the GMC Hummer EV wasn’t even initially supposed to wear the forgone nameplate. The battery-powered truck was already under development before the decision to revive the Hummer name was ever made. In fact, it wasn’t until General Motors engineers realized just how potent a machine this new electric vehicle was that the idea began to come into focus.
“When this vehicle was being put together… that’s when we’ve begun to realize that (Hummer EV) had ‘super truck capability’ both off road and on road,” said Aldred to MC&T. “That’s when the Hummer nomenclature came into effect. “
This is a logical decision actually, as the Hummer H1 remains an icon due to its unmatched capabilities and features off-road. Those who recall Hummer’s marketing efforts from the 2000’s will remember the brand’s slogan: “Like Nothing Else.” With that in mind, it would appear as if the Hummer brand ethos has picked up right where it left off.
Aldred didn’t shy away from telling us that this will probably be the most capable vehicle GM has made up until this point. This is why they’ve adopted the “super truck” mantra for the vehicle, as they genuinely believe that it is that much of a step on from every other pickup on the road. Outputs of 1,000 horsepower and an estimated 1,000 ft-lbs of motor torque likely don’t hurt in this department.
Considering the knee-jerk wind down of the Hummer brand just a decade ago, the dealer network that would have supported this new electric vehicle is now gone, and restarting that journey is far, far from easy. While Aldred didn’t openly elude to the dealer network as a factor, the decision to fit the Hummer EV into the GMC brand stemmed from what made sense from a business end.
“We looked also at a practicality point of view. How can we get the most synergy, how can we get the best for the business. Just looking where and how we could do that,” said Aldred.
“Our journey with GMC really made Denali this powerhouse of a sub-brand – very high volumes, very high price,” said Aldred. “ We’ve done the same from an off-road point of view with AT4, and so (Hummer EV) became a very natural extension to the GMC brand… a lot of the similar price points, a lot of the similar customers, and there’s also a lot of new customers that will attract to the GMC brand as well.”
GMC has undoubtedly been doing rather well as of late, with their Denali and AT4 sub-brands currently outselling the whole of Cadillac. While that’s not the position GM would likely have wished upon their flagship luxury brand, there has never been a better time to lean into what GMC has going on. With the debut of the GMC Hummer EV, the brand finally has an exclusive product of its own. That in itself may just go a long way to help bolster the Hummer, and ease the transition towards electrified pickups.