The next domino in the corporate failure of once-iconic car maker General Motors has fallen, as it was announced today that the Hummer brand will be ended. A deal was thought to be in the works with a Chinese heavy equipment manufacturer, but the apparent collapse of that deal has sealed Hummer’s fate.
While I was sorry to see the earlier end of GM’s Pontiac and Saturn brands, I’m not gonna miss Hummer in the least. Whereas Pontiac carried history and Saturn represented change, all Hummer stands for is excess. Born in the chest-thumping days following the original Iraq War, the initial Hummer H1 was a civilian version of the HMMV “Humvee” that gained much fame in the desert sands. Large, loud, and with no place on civilian highways, the H1 was nonetheless popular with the “big ego, small penis” crowd. Originally built by AM General, the folks who built the original Humvees for the military, the brand was bought by General Motors and expanded.
I can remember trying unsuccessfully to stifle a giggle the first time I saw the Hummer H2. Downsized to more closely match the SUVs that were becoming popular at the time, it was literally the worst of both worlds. It was boxy to try and resemble the H1 (and included embossed replicas of the some of the H1 features no longer needed in a smaller vehicle), but that cost the H1 valuable cargo space. I figured they’d jumped the shark when I saw a crash test on an H2 that showed it had the suvivability of a ball of tin foil, but it was the even smaller H3 and a pickup version of the H2 that set the stage for failure. In a time when intelligent people are looking to hybrids and electric vehicles as the future, the Hummer is as dated as leg warmers and spandex pants.
It’s important to note that while the Hummer brand is gone, the HMMV goes right on, as GM owns no part of AM General. From now on, the only folks with Humvees are the ones who’ve earned them …