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Hummer Is Coming Back, But Not Like You Know It

GM Is Reportedly Positioning The Infamous SUV Brand Against Likes Of Rivian, Tesla

2009 Hummer H3T Alpha

According to Bloomberg, resurrecting the Hummer brand “is one of many options” that GM is exploring as it marches towards its agenda of “an all electric future.” Yes, the brand most recognized as being some kind of antichrist to planet earth from its notoriously low fuel economy numbers could be coming back without needing to fill up with gasoline at all.

This is 2019, where it’s in vogue to wrap up in layers, and layers of irony. So news that we might soon see Hummer come back to seek atonement with Greenpeace by running on electric power is a story that just fits right in with the times, and perfectly encapsulates today’s Western political climate.

It’s been ten long years since General Motors shuttered the Hummer division. A brand known for making some of the most off-road capable, and some of the absurdly biggest SUVs of its time, it became a politically charged lightning rod in a time when gasoline averaged over $3.00 a gallon on average, and the recently elected Obama Administration was advocating the auto industry to build what can best be described as compliance cars.

The Hummer H3T Alpha was the last product announcement from the brand.

Since GM required a federal bailout, and was at the mercy of the politicians, a few major adjustments were made. In June 2009, the fate of Hummer would be officially sealed: find a buyer, or else face oblivion.

The team in charge of the sale came close. With an asking price of just $150 million, China-based Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Company Ltd. had done everything except sign the final papers. But at the 11th hour, in February 2010, the deal fell through. This made GM come up with one conclusion: the discontinuation of Hummer.

National average gas prices crept even higher in 2011 and 2012. But by 2013, oil prices began to return to more favorable numbers for those bleeding money at the fuel station every week. The economy was also recovering from the Great Recession. Credit became more widely available, and suddenly, crossovers and SUVs were in vogue once again. So GM saw growth in these spaces, and even launched more products in various segments and from other brands to attract crossover-crazed customers, and pickup truck purchasers. At the expense was the passenger car market, especially vehicles made my domestic marques. In addition, the off-road truck and SUV space has seen a steady increase in players. This includes the Ford F-150 Raptor, Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, Ram Power Wagon, and Jeep Gladiator.

Suddenly, it’s gotten to the point where it’s obvious that General Motors is missing out on not having Hummer around. Just as the company pulled the plug on the military-rooted marque, things were just about to get really good. On the heels of the Hummer H3 and H3T was the HX concept, which teased a smaller, leaner Hummer that would compete with the Jeep Wrangler. The stillborn Hummer H4 would have been this vehicle.

Fast forward to 2019, and newcomer brands like Rivian and Bollinger aim to take a bite out of the off-road truck and SUV space, as well. But here’s the twist: these vehicles are 100 percent electric. Throw Tesla into the mix, and heaping dose of electrification hype from Wall Street, and we might have an entirely new vehicle segment emerge seemingly overnight made up of young upstarts, and 110-year-old GM.

General Motors was working on a deal with Rivian earlier this year, but like Hummer, things again fell through. As a result, Ford got a deal with Rivian, and GM President Mark Reuss turned up the wick on still highly secretive electric truck and SUV programs.

With this in mind, we’re not viewing recent reports that GM might finally be going after the Jeep Wrangler as a mere coincidence. The two stories are likely more related more than we know.¬†Hummer could indeed be coming back into the ring, and perhaps Jeep will have to be the brand to answer the bell.

Written by Manoli Katakis

Detroit Region SCCA Member and founder of MC&T. Automotive Media Jedi Knight. Not yet the rank of Master.

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