Requiem for Hummer

General Motors is ready to shut down Hummer. That was the big news earlier this week after the company’s deal to sell the Hummer brand to Tengzhong, a Chinese machinery company, collapsed. The passing of Hummer gave opinion writers, pundits and bloggers—and the general public—an opportunity to reflect on the vehicle that perhaps best represents the excesses of the SUV era.

From the beginning, Hummer was a lightning rod, eliciting strong emotions from people who loved and hated the quintessential gas-guzzler. We collected final remembrances of the Hummer from across the web, and hope you will add your reflections and condolences.

GM Gives In To Good Taste, Closes Hummer Division

“Auto decal makers and window-tinters of the world are in mourning this afternoon…They’re stopping production of the controversial phallic stand-ins…I propose that, at midnight ET tonight, all Hummer owners across the country pause their Girls Gone Wild DVDs and join me in a moment of silence for the fallen giant.”
– From The Consumerist

Hummer, R.I.P.

“In response to GM’s announcement, flags across oil-rich Saudi Arabia were lowered to half-mast while the entire Exxon/Mobil board of directors were seen at a group grief counseling session. On Wall Street, oil speculators were jumping from windows while in Michigan, some people were mourning the possibility of a world without Hummers.”
– From Detroit Free Press

Hummer’s Long Overdue Death

“Driving one of those militaristic behemoths used to be a status symbol, but after gas prices topped $4 a gallon in the summer of 2008, people began to rethink the excess. In 2008, GM sold 27,485 Hummers, down from 35,000 in 2003. In 2009, after announcing it was putting the brand up for sale, GM sold only 9,000.”
– From Forbes

Hummer’s Demise a Sign of the Times

“As a symbol of conspicuous consumption, or of a lack of regard for the environment, the Hummer makes its owners look distinctly out of touch with the current public mood…It seems even the Chinese authorities are steering clear of the beast. “The brand proposition of Hummer itself goes against the strategic outline of the Chinese government, which is mainly that they want to produce energy-efficient vehicles,” explains Klaus Paur, North Asia director for market research company TNS.”

– From BBC

The End of Really Big

“Being big and powerful is essential to our national identity. It’s what we feel makes us better than the countries with older histories…Our bigness also expresses itself in the form of military might, a (now somewhat tarnished) genius for making money, and a gift for innovation (the point of which is to stay bigger and better than the rest). All of this, at least for a long period in our history, found perfect expression in our automobiles—of which the Hummer was the gargantuan, gas-guzzling apotheosis.”
– From The Daily Beast

What are your thoughts about the demise of Hummer?

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  • Kei Jidosha

    7 years too late.

  • Max Reid

    If you want an off-road vehicles there is always a Jeep-Wrangler. If you want a bigger vehicle, there is 5-Door, 5-Seater Wrangler.

    Hummer is just a over-sized Jeep. We dont want it in times of rising gas prices.

  • tw8s

    Iconic, evocative, domineering, but not dominant. It is interesting to me that the symbolic ‘weight’ of the Hummer brand appears greater to many people than the actual impact of the vehicles. Total production of the civilian ‘HumVee’, aka H1 Hummer, was about 12,000 spanning 15 years ending in 2006. (Yes, it IS a big four passenger vehicle.) Total production for all three Hummer series is close to 322,000.
    The more popular H2 and H3 are slab-sided bodies with small windows and large gas caps built on GM truck frames, engines and running gear. The H2 is cousin to the Tahoe/Yukon (Suburban) family, and the H3 is cousin to the Colorado/Canyon (boot-scootin’) crowd. Over matching years of production the GM units out-sold their Hummer cousins by 9.5 to 1 in the case of the H2 and 4 to 1 for the H3.
    During the decade of the Hummers, hybrid sales in the US totaled close to 1.5million.

  • Raum

    I drove a hummv when I was in the army because I had to. It suited the needs and is amazingly adaptable. (cargo carrier, ambulance, 4 seat scout with roof mounted 50 cal, radio station, etc.)

    I think it is preposterous that people bought theses behemoths to go grocery shopping. I can’t call that anything but stupid.

    Hummer being discontinued… I’m over it already.

  • AP

    As a GM employee (and as an American) who also does not like people using large SUV’s for commuter cars, I’d like to know where the corresponding criticism, hatred, and vitriol is for

    1) the Toyota Land Cruiser,
    2) the Toyota Sequoia,
    3) the Toyota Tundra,
    4) the Land Rover,
    5) the Porsche Cayenne,
    6) the VW Touareg, and
    7) the Mercedes Gelandewagen.

    What message is it that this site and environmentalists are sending? Here are some logical ones, based on observations of some illogical people:

    1) If you are going to produce gas-guzzlers, you had better not hire Americans to design and build them.
    2) If you produce a hybrid, we will forget (wink, wink) to hate the gas-guzzlers you make.
    3) Foreign manufacturers won’t listen to us anyway, but American automakers have more of a conscience, so let’s put pressure on them and they will respond.
    4) Americans are stupid, and most won’t notice the inconsistencies in the propaganda we spew. They’ll just get on our side to be considered as “caring,” and avoid being “uncool.”

    The singling out of the Hummer is the exact, inconsistent, politically-correct language that progressives use to justify their views. They live in their own world where their views are mutually self-supporting, but they are a house of cards, because their foundations are false.

    Honestly, it shouldn’t be so easy to destroy such a commonly parroted point of view, that got repeated so often that it ruined a viable brand that filled a niche, and provided many American jobs (about 3 times as many per vehicle sold as the foreign transplants provide).

    If you don’t like SUV’s, fine. But be consistent. How can people with such a fragile, warped “reality” in their head function in this world? Maybe American life doesn’t demand enough of us!

  • PhAnBro

    I have mixed emotions about this. My first response was sadness because, man, the thing looks awesome and the H3 and H3T were just plain cool, like the Land Rover and Toyota 4Runner. But I guess it wouldn’t be safe to drive one nowadays, just because of the vicious hatred shown by environmentalists. Besides, who needs a 14mpg truck in today’s economy?

  • ex-EV1 driver

    As a veteran Naval Officer from the US amphibious forces, I deployed with the Jeeps and later, the HMMWV (Military Hummer) and developed a hatred of this bloated example of government spec creep (an elephant is a mouse built to government specs) that took a useful military utility vehicle (Jeep) and rebuilt it as a logistics tail-stressing behemoth. The wimpy peace-time bureaucratic designers and ‘users’ that designed it completely missed a major requirement of the Jeep (ability for its occupants to turn it over if it rolled). Great on domestic military posts but not-so great in theater. The Iraq war proved that the naive think-they-are-tough boneheads who think that heavy means invincible got a lot of our troops killed since, while consuming huge amounts of gasoline compared to the 25 mpg Jeep, the Hummer is not bullet or IED proof. Neither are the extra tank trucks that must follow along to keep fuel available for it.
    The HMMWV was a nightmare to actually take to the fight. We were able to sling carry a Jeep from any cargo helicopter. Assault boats could carry many more Jeeps than they could HMMWVs and we could shuffle jeeps around the ships by driving them or putting them in cargo and flight deck elevators. The HMMWV behemoth was no easier to shuffle around than the 5-ton trucks so we had little ability to change out the mission without actually putting ashore and moving them around.
    As far as civilian sales go, why would anyone want an H1? The driver and passenger could barely see each other because of the transmission tunnel beside them and the maintenance was far less that ideal. It was an offroad beast but had severe trouble getting through narrow canyons because of its maximal street-legal width. As a product designed by and for government procurement, GM couldn’t sell it for enough to really afford to warranty it.
    The H2, however, as brilliantly designed for the moron who thinks he’s tough but doesn’t know what tough means. Its a suburban with a little sheet metal spot welded on to dress it up to look like a military vehicle- how quaint, big boys playing soldier. The brilliance was that that little sheet metal allowed GM to sell the H2 for a lot more than it’s base cousin and people didn’t even notice the loss in vehicle capacity caused by the cosmetics.
    I’ll stop ragging on the Hummer brand now. Hopefully I’ll never have to deal with it again. I just wish our poor troops didn’t have to suffer with it.
    Sorry for the rant and run-on sentences. No time to edit this for good grammer

  • Joshua

    The Hummer plant is literally across the street from my high school. My grandpa worked there for years. It’s really weird thinking about it being gone. Granted, Hummers are gas guzzling, unnecessary super machines, and when I see people driving them I want to slap them silly, but my hometown is going to suffer a lot, a lot a lot.

    But hey, who isn’t nowadays, right? O_o

  • AP

    ex-EV1 driver, your comment about “government specs” applies not only to the the original Humm-V, but to the street versions (as well as to all SUV’s).

    Before CAFE, no one used trucks for commuter cars. But the government set CAFE to have higher mileage standards for trucks (since fuel was expensive in the late 1970’s and always would be – no place to go but up – no one would drive trucks for non-work use). However, the government then fought to keep fuel prices low, so people no longer cared about fuel economy.

    So the government “specified” that people should want gas-guzzlers again, but they couldn’t have a big car – they’d have to buy a truck. The Hummer (as well as all the other manufacturers I listed above) merely filled the demand the government “specified.”

    Americans are nothing if not forgetful, as shown by our willingness to buy gas-guzzlers within years (or even months) of the last gas-price surge.

    America’s forgetfulness and ignorance was exemplified by Nancy Pelosi at the government bail-out hearings who bragged up Ford and GM for the high-quality, fuel-efficient vehicles we make in Europe, and the alternative-fuel vehicles we make in Brazil. She then criticized us for not bringing those products here, saying, “What’s wrong with this picture?”

    I’ll give her the answer: “The government is what’s wrong with this picture. Enact policies that those countries have enacted, and you’d get the same type of vehicles that they have encouraged.”

    I never hear government representatives take the blame – only dish it out. God help us if they run health care.

  • TripleFelix

    “I’d like to know where (is) the corresponding criticism …for

    1) the Toyota Land Cruiser,
    2) the Toyota Sequoia,
    3) the Toyota Tundra,
    4) the Land Rover,
    5) the Porsche Cayenne,
    6) the VW Touareg, and
    7) the Mercedes Gelandewagen.”

    Absolutely. As outrageously large, utterly unnecessary vehicles go, the Hummer was actually considerably more fuel efficient than some. What killed the Hummer was the symbolism suggested by its looks. But that’s also what made it popular. Good riddance to Hummer, but this whole class of outrageous creations needs to go.

  • veek

    AP, ex-EV1, and Triple Felix:
    Thanks for your insightful (or perhaps “hummersightful”) comments. Bad as they were, Hummers were hardly at the bottom of the barrel.

    Alas, AP, the problem is not confined to SUV’s. Just look at the overpriced Bloatmobile sedans from Mercedes/BMW/Audi. Even their diesel and hybrid versions would be rightly panned if they were US-built cars, with their mileage figures, yet Audi wins Green Car awards for its A3 diesel even as it laughingly slams environmentalists as “green police.” Go figure.

    AP, your comments about our esteemed press being unfair to US cars also continues a long tradition. For many years, Ford received horrible press for its Pinto safety record even though, as I recall, insurance figures showed nearly all Japanese cars of the time were statistically more dangerous. Ralph Nader made his money trashing the Corvair even though the beloved Beetle and VW Bus were surely far more dangerous. Detroit still endures very bad press for quality control, even though Consumer Reports indicates VW, Mercedes, Porsche, and Audi have long made some of the US market’s least dependable cars (the automotive and popular press consistently rave about “superior German engineering,” which means that repairs will be expensive as well as frequent). Well, maybe it’s just as well that the “anxiety industry” of the press is continuing to lose market share and dollars — GM and the banks are not the only US businesses that embarrassingly call for re-invention.

    Yes, I also drove a real live HMMWV in the military and it seemed like looking at the world from inside a mailbox, and the off-road capability was used about as much as a vehicle in a US suburban driveway. Good riddance and sorry about the workers. Thankfully, the process of evolution seems to be working, and better cars are available to us in great numbers.

  • ex-EV1 driver

    I’m right with you on the naive unintended (yet logical) consequences of CAFE. They really set us back.
    I hope that the US automakers are able to capitalize on Toyota’s setbacks but, unfortunately, I have zero confidence that the group-think within their management structure has a real chance. Ford may prove us wrong. They seem to be leaning forward a little at least.
    I just drove a rental Malibu over the weekend and must say it felt like driving an obese pig with a big engine in it to provide a lot of acceleration, perhaps in hopes that no one would notice how cumbersome it really is. GM certainly didn’t impress me. Hopefully, the leaf won’t be such a disappointment. My first car was a Chevy and I definitely want to buy American. Unfortunately, none of the big 3 really offer much that I’d want.

  • AP

    ex-EV1 driver, I’m surprised by your evaluation of the Malibu. Compared to your Tesla, it may be “obese,” but isn’t everything? Since the Tesla is designed by Lotus, you’d expect everything to feel sluggish next to it! Lotus has always emphasized efficiency in structures, but their quality and refinement wouldn’t do for most consumers.

    I would think that you’d feel the same poor handling if you drove a Prius, since Toyota has never emphasized handling-they usually soften the suspension for ride.

    I hope you were at least impressed by the Malibu’s interior quality. I was doing some measurements on a Lexus once after driving a Malibu, and I was shocked at how cheap the Lexus looked in comparison!

    I was very critical of our products 10-25 years ago, but I am now proud of them. With an open-minded public, I think perceptions of GM will change. It takes a while to earn credibility back.

  • ex-EV1 driver

    We’re probably getting off-topic here but:
    I wasn’t comparing the Malibu with the Tesla, Those were my general impressions. I was just admitting that my opinion may be biased (and shamelessly plugging the Tesla :-). I also drive a Civic Hybrid, a Nissan Xterra, and (until totalled last week) a ’91 Buick Century. The Malibu had a lot more power than the Buick but worse handling, something I don’t expect from a Chevy although I haven’t driven many Chevy’s for several decades. I have driven Priuss (Prii?).
    The interior quality was what I’d call the Tammy Faye Baker style. Way over the top in junky looking plastic gingerbread and bloating. But then I’m not a ‘luxury car’ kind of guy anyway. I’m probably a lot more of a minimalist in most cases. I might have expected this in a Caddy or Oldsmobile but not a Chevy. Sorry, I don’t have any experience with Lexus.
    I don’t fault or disrespect folks who want these cars as everyone is entitled to their own taste (even Tammy Faye). My preference is just to clean up the power plants so that future generations will also be able to select the car they want and we’ll still have something to run them on.

  • Concerned

    I’m concerned there isn’t a burial lot big enough for the hummer…

  • MM

    AP made some great comments on the demise of the Hummer. In addition to progressives/greenies hating the Hummer because it uses more than an average amount of gas, they really hate it because it was designed by a U.S. Corporation for the U.S. Military.
    Yes they are quiet about the Sequoia, Titan, Lexus 470, full size Tundra, etc…..

  • Clay Lee

    I can’t believe what I am reading here. The American dream of having bigger and better is being ripped out from under everyone who has any knowledge of the truth about oil and gas prices. Great, Hummers use excessive amounts of a product that we have in enormous amounts. The high gas prices are a product of the government being controlled by oil companies and special interest groups.

    To prove a point, I would like all the bleeding hearts to do a little research with their IPODS and laptops made in China,on the two major oil finds here in the Good Ole USA. These were discovered while Bush was in office. The two resevours found, added up to 3.6 trillion barrels of black gold. Bush signed a bill for the drilling to commence, but not a single drop has been pulled from either of these. The reason why is because it would drop the price of oil down to prices that haven’t been seen since 1980. (And you thought the US oil companies were struggling, even if they have post record earnings year after year) We have 3.7 times more oil under US soil than all of the middle east put together, its a proven fact!

    Everyone has a right to their opinion, at least for now, and I’ll respect yours. Just don’t critisize me for wanting the biggest and the best if I can afford it! Thats what being an American has given me the right to do. Thank you to all the Veterans!

    I’m not bashing the oil companies, I draw my paycheck (which pays for my HUMMER) from working in the oil and gas industry.

  • pintuhs

    This is the company which provides compact cars in greater proportion to the market. Also there is higher demand for compact cars produced by this company; the reason for this is the excellence and smartness of Hummer Cars. As these days there is demand for compact sized cars, so keeping this thing in mind the company reduced the size without affecting the overall performance of the cars. The company came up with number of excellent performing cars and is still making constant efforts to serve the customers with more new and innovative cars.

  • Amie Steffey

    This is so sad. I like Hummer a lot, it is a great car and it looks so nice. A friend of mine wants to buy one for himself and he checked out a lot of auto dealer websites in order to purchase a Hummer. He even made some calls, but he told me he couldn’t find anything and I finally understand why.

  • tapra1

    eliciting strong emotions from people who loved and hated the quintessential gas-guzzler. We collected final remembrances of the Hummer from across the web, and hope you will add your reflections and condolences.CWDev

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  • Matteo

    Like no other vehicle in memory, when I see an H2 in traffic, “disturbed driver” pops into my head. And stopped at a red light, I can’t even bear to glance at the driver, for fear of busting-out laughing at such a fragile self-image. Such things are probably not what GM had in mind in the glossy, H2 phamplet at the dealer.

    I do like several things about the vehicle, though. The H2/3’s have a huge sunroof (which is actually usable and over the driver’s head, unlike all these raked windshield, aero-over-anything, vehicles of today). There’s nothing like a box for interior room, too. And damn it, I like it because it is anti-now, an it pisses-off the hippies; maybe even more now then before. It will be a classic, as most controversial vehicles are.

    But, if I were in the market, and wanted to display intelligence in vehicle selection, I would choose a Suburban or Tahoe, 1 year old, for $25k. (Best deal on the dying-planet; 80% of the mileage of a Odyssey, 2X the room, and half the maintenance costs, without paying out the butt for sliding door fixes or timing belts.)

    The H2 also suffers from GM’s unlimited assumption that there’s a sucker-customer born ever minute. How else can you explain the plastic shifter feels as crappy, junky, and ‘who-cares’ as the H2’s does (in a “rugged vehicle” no less). And of course, Hummers in Iraq being blown up every six hours doesn’t help the rugged personna.

  • altonalvin

    I drove hummers often in the service years ago and these things would go through anything. 2 feet of mud up a 10% grade at 30 mph, no problem. It’s a vehicle that needs to be available, just purchased by people who need it. Grocery runs are a waste of capability. dirt bike games

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