During a recent sit down with about 20 online journalists at the Detroit Auto Show (which HummerGuy.net was excited to be a part of, courtesy of GM!), General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner took questions on a variety of subjects. While answering a question on the new Chevy Volt and environmental progress at GM, Wagoner conceded that “H2s and H3s don’t look as good in a $3 (per gallon of gas), and more environmentally sensitive world then they did 5 years ago.” When I got the chance, I asked a follow-up question on how relevant the HUMMER brand was to General Motors right now and in the future.
“What we cannot forget about HUMMER is that it is a great brand…it’s a global brand, it’s iconic,” Wagoner said. He went on to remind me that HUMMER’s website was one of the most popular online automotive destinations for teenage boys a few years back and explained that’s normally a pretty guess for future purchasing behavior. Then he joked, “I think the first was Ferrari, so they obviously don’t have to pay for the gas.”
HUMMER is faced with a move into the future where gas prices are bound to rise, and where fuel economy may become more important, that’s why HUMMER is testing vehicles like the e85 capable, and more importantly smaller, HX concept.
“HUMMER started being really big, but no one says that you have to be big to be a HUMMER product…The basic design concept of a HUMMER is so distinctive, it’s sort of scalable,” explained Wagoner, who also said their may be some eventual limitations. “I ask (the designers), what if we made a really little HUMMER and took it on the Rubicon and it like, falls in the crack – would that be meeting the HUMMER brand promise or not?” The laughter from Wagoner and around the room was a resounding “NO!”
“HUMMER is a brand that has interest globally,” Wagoner continued, “and if you think H2s look big on the road in the U.S., you out to put them on just about any other road in the world, and they look really, really big.” Comments like that continue to fuel debate on the H2s future as part of HUMMER’s lineup, but Wagoner finished by saying, “we’ve got to explore opportunities for smaller HUMMER products.” The HX certainly showcases HUMMER’s desire to produce smaller vehicles – now the waiting game begins to see if it, or something very similar, comes to market and how soon.