RIP Hummer: 1992 – 2010

General Motors took its Hummer brand off life supports and will let the iconic SUV die a peaceful death.  GM’s brief statement said that its planned sale of Hummer to the Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machines Company “cannot be completed,” without giving a reason. The $150 million deal had been stalled as the companies awaited approval from the Chinese government.  GM had been trying to sell Hummer for a year, and had made a preliminary deal with Tengzhong last June.

The off-road leviathans (17 mpg/highway and 10 mpg/city) started life as the Hum-Vee, a military vehicle whose special options included troop carriers, gun turrets and radar.  The original manufacturer was AMC Jeep’s General Products division, which started selling a civilian version of the M998 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV or Hum-Vee) to the public with the brand name “Hummer”, also known as the H1.  In 1998, AMC General sold the brand name to General Motors, but continued to manufacture the vehicles at its Mishawaka, IN, plant.  GM assumed responsibility for marketing and distributing the niche vehicles.

In time, GM introduced two homegrown models – the H2 and H3 – which it built at the same Shreveport, LA, plant where the Chevrolet Canyon and GMC Canyon pickups are produced.

Controversy dogged the Hummer throughout its life.  Criticisms focused on its size; ecological perceptions; poor fuel economy; safety data and concerns; and stability control.  Still, many Hummer devotees (including this author) put their vehicles’ heavy-duty capabilities to good use by partnering with The Hummer Club, Inc., and the American Red Cross to receive CPR and first aid training so they could assist victims during disaster situations.

The science of global warming is still in dispute, with credible people on both sides.  A recent poll showed that just 36 percent of Americans believe the evidence of human-induced climate change, a slide from the 47 percent reported in early 2008. According to author Jeffrey D. Sachs, “The rise of unemployment has perhaps made people more reluctant to accept adverse news on living standards.  There is also considerable public confusion about climate science and possible remedies.”

Rest in peace, Hummer.