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Hummer (stylized as HUMMER) was a brand of trucks and SUVs that was first marketed in 1992 when AM General began selling a civilian version of the M998 Humvee. Although discontinued in 2010, Hummer is to return as a sub-brand of GMC from 2021. In 1998, General Motors (GM) purchased the brand name from AM General and marketed three vehicles: the original Hummer H1, based on the military Humvee, as well as the new H2 and H3 models that were based on smaller, civilian-market GM platforms.
By 2008, Hummer's viability in the economic downturn was questioned. Rather than being transferred to the Motors Liquidation Company as part of the GM bankruptcy in 2009, the brand was retained by GM, in order to investigate its sale. No final deal was made, and in 2010, Hummer dealerships began shutting down. Ten years later in 2020, the nameplate returned, not as a separate brand but instead as two models, an electric pickup truck and SUV, to be sold under the GMC brand as the "GMC Hummer EV". The production EV is scheduled to launch in fall 2021.
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. After GM announced that same day that the sale was to an undisclosed Chinese company, CNN and the New York Times identified the buyer of the Hummer truck unit as China-based Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Company Ltd. Later that day, Sichuan Tengzhong itself announced the deal on their own website.
On January 6, 2010, GM CEO Ed Whitacre said he hoped to close the deal with Tengzhong by the end of that month. On February 1, 2010, it was announced that Sichuan and General Motors had agreed to extend the deadline until the end of February as Sichuan tried to get approval by the Chinese government. It was also revealed that the price tag of the Hummer brand was $150 million.
Later, on February 24, 2010, GM announced the Tengzhong deal had collapsed and the Hummer brand would soon shut down. There were reports that Sichuan Tengzhong might pursue the purchase of the Hummer brand from GM by purchasing it privately through the company's new J&A Tengzhong Fund SPC, a private equity investment fund owned by an offshore entity that was recruiting private investors to buy into its acquisition plan. The financial markets posed problems for established borrowers and even more for Tengzhong, a little-known company from western China, at the same time as the potential value of the Hummer brand continued to decline given high fuel prices and weak consumer demand.
The company announced it was willing to consider offers for all or part of the assets. American company Raser Technologies along with several others expressed interest in buying the company. However, on April 7, 2010, this attempt failed as well, and General Motors officially said it was shutting down the Hummer SUV brand and offering rich rebates in a bid to move the remaining 2,200 vehicles.
After filling a rental-car fleet order, the last Hummer H3 rolled off the line at Shreveport on May 24, 2010.
In mid-2019, rumors began to circulate that General Motors was considering reviving the Hummer nameplate in 2021, as the market for off-road vehicles was reaching historic levels of sales. GM President Mark Ruess was asked about the possible return in the summer of 2019, and said, "I love Hummer. I don't know. We're looking at everything." Credibility to the earlier reporting began to solidify after the conclusion of the 2019 General Motors strike, as contract negotiations led to the commitment by GM of saving its Detroit-Hamtramck facility from closing by investing in and retooling it to build future electric trucks and SUVs; the products were to be built on GM's upcoming "BT1" electric truck platform. GM's own documentation listed three brands as receiving products from the BT1 architecture: Cadillac (presumably an electric Cadillac Escalade), Chevrolet (likely under the Silverado nameplate), and a third unknown brand referred to as the "M-Brand."
Industry insiders claimed they had sources saying that the "M-Brand" was indeed Hummer, as a revival of the brand would make great business sense, with well-established name recognition removing the need for extensive marketing costs. The Hummer revival on the BT1 platform was known internally as "Project O," potentially named after former Chief Camaro Engineer Al Oppenheiser (the man responsible for the return of the Camaro in 2010), who was curiously and abruptly moved from Camaro development to overseeing an EV program sources have claimed to be the Hummer revival project. Oppenheiser later confirmed this himself. By November 2019, prominent automotive industry forecasters, such as AutoForecast Solutions and LMC Automotive, told news outlets that it was all but confirmed that Hummer would return with two electric models, a truck and an SUV, sometime in 2021. GM declined to comment on the matter. On November 21, 2019, General Motors CEO Mary Barra confirmed in a press release that GM would indeed be releasing an electric pickup truck in the fall of 2021, but curiously did not name the brand under which it would be built.
The new Hummer line will not be a stand-alone brand, as it was before General Motors filed for bankruptcy, but instead will be a model within GM's GMC brand. This will allow GM to bypass the pricey constructing of a dealer infrastructure for Hummer, all while capitalizing on the strong GMC brand image.
On January 30, 2020, GM released a series of short teaser videos, finally revealing the official return of Hummer. The short spots tease a 30-second Super Bowl ad featuring NBA superstar LeBron James. The teasers confirm the nameplate's return as an electric SUV and truck sub-brand to be sold under the GMC brand. According to the teasers, the production EV will feature 1,000 horsepower, hit 60 mph in 3 seconds, and be revealed on May 20, 2020 (the date was later pushed back to October 20th, 2020). The GMC Hummer EV, as it will be known, will go head-to-head against upcoming battery-powered rivals like the Tesla CyberTruck, Rivian R1T and Bollinger B1. An electric SUV will follow in 2022, with the pickup truck being called the "Hummer EV SUT," and the SUV being called the "Hummer EV SUV."
The Hummer EV SUT was officially revealed on October 20, 2020 during the 2020 World Series. The Hummer EV SUV is set to be unveiled during the NCAA Tournament Final Four on April 3rd, 2021.
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