The Hummer brand initially emerged in 1992 due to the opportunity offered by AM General to market a civilian version of the Humvee M998 or HMMWV. Although AM General had already planned to sell civilian versions of the Humvee in the late 1980s, it would not be until the early 1990s that commercialization of a vehicle derived from the military industry finally began.
The civilian Hummer was finished in bold colors and included various upgrades and amenities such as air conditioning, sound insulation, new upholstery, sound system, and accent trim. Thus, in 1992 the civil version of the Humvee M998 was sold under the Hummer brand. The actor, bodybuilder, and former governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, a great pioneer in turning the military Humvee into a streetcar, bought the first two Hummer H1s made.
In 1999, AM General sold the Hummer brand to General Motors, although it would continue to manufacture the vehicles, while GM would be responsible for marketing and distribution of the cars. Until 2006, the Hummer H1 would be marketed, and there would be two other versions, the H2 and H3, before the fall of the brand.
With the onset of the economic recession in 2008, General Motors was affected by falling sales and lower demand for these types of vehicles, large SUVs with powerful engines. The increase in the price of oil did not help to revive sales. GM decides to review the Hummer brand to completely redesign the product range, sell the brand, or end its production.
After several attempts to sell to Chinese companies, on April 7, 2010, General Motors announced the definitive closure of Hummer and the cessation of production at the plants in Indiana and Louisiana (United States), and Kaliningrad (Russia).
The Dakar Rally as a world showcase
One year after Hummer was established as a brand, AM General created the Hummer Racing team. This division would be in charge of developing the competition versions of the H1 to participate in different off-road sports disciplines. After passing through the Baja 1000, where the Hummer team obtained up to 11 victories in the production class, the brand would take the great leap to participate in the most challenging rally raid in the world.
The first participation of a Hummer in the Dakar Rally would take place in 2006. The North American Robby Gordon would be the star driver, achieving third place in 2009 as the best classification. His highly modified rear-drive Hummer would participate in 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 (where he was disqualified for an illegal modification to his car), and 2013 editions.
The Hummer model range is mainly divided into three products. The Hummer H1 was marketed between 1992 and 2006 and derived directly from the military Humvee M998. It was equipped with powerful V8 diesel and gasoline engines and was offered in a five-door SUV, two-door pickup, four-door body, and soft-top convertible. More than 11,000 units were produced in the 14 years the model was marketed.
The Hummer H2 would serve to modernize the original Humvee. It was designed and manufactured under the umbrella of General Motors between 2002 and 2009. It was equipped with powerful 6.0 and 6.2-liter V8 engines with up to 400 hp of power. The H2 represents a significant leap in quality, with new materials, finishes, equipment, and available technology. It was available with a four-door body and a four-door pickup version called H2 SUT. More than 150,000 units were assembled in seven years.
A limousine version is derived from the Hummer H2 as a result of the popularity of the model. This demand led several private manufacturers to modify the H2, lengthening the chassis of the American SUV to create versions with 14, 16, or even 22 seats.
The last one was the Hummer H3. It is the most miniature model in the Hummer family, available as a five-door SUV or four-door station wagon (H3T). It was marketed between 2005 and 2010. It was equipped with 3.5-litre five-cylinder engines with 220 hp, 3.7-liter five-cylinder engines with 240 hp, and a 5.3-liter V8 with 300 hp. It was also the most popular model of the brand, achieving production of close to 160,000 vehicles.
The return of the Hummer brand as a manufacturer of electric cars
Under the leadership of General Motors Corporation (GMC), Hummer is re-launching a product more than a decade after the original brand filed for bankruptcy. In 2020, the GMC Hummer EV was presented, a 4×4 with a pickup body and SUV, and a design inspired by the original Hummer, which offers an electric propulsion system composed of three engines and 1,000 hp of power. The battery gives you enough juice to go up to 560 kilometers on a single charge. Production and marketing of the electric Hummer will begin in the fall of 2022.
The GMC Hummer EV will be marketed in the US market, at least for the time being.