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Unlike the majority of automobile brands with a global fame, Hummer can boast neither a long history of operation nor the current presence in the market. Nonetheless, its appearance in the world arena marked the beginning of a new era – era of limitless on-road and off-road possibilities. Indeed, Hummer vehicles were designed specifically for extreme driving on the most impassable roads. Besides, all units were marketed as a unique solution for unique people.
Lightning Upswing and Decline
Hummer history has started long before a well-known brand name appeared. It was not earlier than 1980s when AM General Corporation (a subsidiary of American Motors Corporation) began manufacturing heavy-duty trucks and SUVs specifically for the US Army needs. Its HMMWV, aka Humvee, was produced at a rate of 55 thousand units with an additional order for 15 thousand units. In the 1990s AM General settled down to the design of civilian Humvee versions. In 1992 the first customer-oriented vehicles under Hummer brand were introduced (H1).
In 1999 the company sold the brand to General Motors, reserving the rights for the manufacture, marketing and distribution. Shortly afterwards, GM produced a pair of proprietary vehicles versions – H2 and H3. H1 was also in production but then discontinued in 2006. The release became a hit in the domestic market; hence, the company started exporting the models outside the USA. Moreover, engineers designed a right-hand drive version to comply with specific needs of particular markets (i.e. Australia).
The 2009 General Motors bankruptcy issue placed Hummer in jeopardy. GM management was dubious as for the brand’s future. Yet, the team decided not to discontinue it but rather sell. The China-based Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Company Ltd. was a key bidder for the company. However, the deal was not fated to happen due to the blocking by the Chinese government. As a result, in May, 2010 GM completely abandoned the brand.
The ‘H’ Trinity
Hummer production line boasts as little as three different models – H1, an offspring of Humvee M998, H2 and H3 (as well as their modifications).
Hummer H1 was designed by AM General as a convenient off-road solution for the civilian market. The car featured 40 cm ground clearance, could perch over a 56 cm high obstacle, handle a 60% grade, and overcome up to 76 cm of water. Such unprecedented specifications made the model a hit among travelers & enthusiasts. The H1 Alpha version (2002) was equipped with Duramax Diesel engine and 5-speed Allison transmission.
To continue, Hummer H2 was designed as a large truck, a bit slimmer than its predecessor but a bit taller and longer. Its SUV model offered room for 6-7 passengers, while its SUT version contained a pickup section for cargo. The latter was differentiated by a huge capacity which could be compared to typical trucks. There is small wonder that the model won the 2003 North American Truck of the year award.
All H2 vehicles were manufactured at Mishawaka, Indiana. Yet, during 2006-2009 the units were also produced at Avtotor facility in Kaliningrad, Russia. The plant released a few hundreds cars per year and distributed them via five local dealers. In 2009 Hummer launched Black Chrome Limited Edition version to revive the popularity of H2.
Hummer H3 has been in production since 2005. These vehicles were manufactured at GM’s Shreveport Operations in Louisiana as well as the Port Elizabeth factory in South Africa. H3 model was distinguished by smaller dimensions and produced as a middle-sized SUV or a middle-sized pickup, called H3T.
H3 models featured a 3.5 liter 5-cylinder L52 gear, a typical 5-speed transmission (manual) with an option for Hydra-Matic 4L60-E four-speed transmission. Later on, this engine was substituted by 3.7 liter LLR (manual) and 5.3 liter LH8 V8 (automatic). Additionally, H3 trucks were equipped with full-time four-wheel drive system, beneficial for both on-road and off-road guidance, electronic stability control system, tire-pressure monitoring options, brake-controlled traction control, and some other unique facilities.
Finally, Hummer H3T has been available on the market only for a year (2009-2010). Still, it was offered in several versions: H3T Luxury, H3T Adventure, and H3T Alpha trim packages.
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