With ever increasing demands to enhance fuel efficiency, how does a brand like HUMMER survive? With the cancellation of the H1 model, the largest vehicle in HUMMER’s fleet, many enthusiasts fear that the H2 may be next on the chopping block. HUMMER’s General Manager Martin Walsh recently gave some insight into the future of the H2.
Walsh has been pretty open about the fact that HUMMER will continue to produce smaller vehicles. “That allows us to take mass out, helps us with fuel economy, but also gives us an opportunity to go into more markets around the world,” said Walsh, “We’re currently in 37 countries total right now with a plan to continue to grow that.” The message of HUMMER becoming increasing global brand by decreasing in size was emphasized during our discussion with General Motors’ CEO Rick Wagoner: “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.”
Just because HUMMER is scaling down in size to increase its global appeal, Walsh says the H2 still has a place in the U.S. marketplace and for now, is here to stay. “It’s still an important part of our portfolio. We’re not prepared to talk about long-term future because frankly, that vehicle is here and it’s important to us. We haven’t had a discussion on whether it stays or not.”
While pointing out that the 2008 H2 had a 12% increase in fuel economy over the previous year, Walsh explained HUMMER’s “approach is to confront some of the challenges not simply by canceling a vehicle, but by improving the performance of the vehicle, so we can meet the needs of the marketplace.”
To prolong the H2’s lifespan, HUMMER is planning the addition of a 4.5L diesel to the H2 in 2010 , which could garner more global appeal. Also, a revitalized exterior body style is expected around the same time. HUMMER has made it clear they have no expectations of canceling the H2 as long as it continues to have a place in the U.S. market. After our discussion, we felt confident we’ll see the HUMMER H2 produced for several more years.