General Motors has consistently said the fate of the HUMMER brand would be decided by the end of 2009’s first quarter. With the March 31st deadline quickly approaching, all we know for sure is that HUMMER will not be in GM’s portfolio beyond 2009. The two options still on the table are 1) selling the brand, and 2) discontinuing the brand. HUMMER leadership has maintained that a sale is more likely, especially to a foreign buyer or even a U.S. based private equity firm. If HUMMER is purchased the next few years could be very exciting for brand enthusiasts.
GM has already invested a significant amount of money and resources on HUMMER’s next generations, which is a huge selling point for any potential investor.
The H3 and H3T were both scheduled to have GM’s 3.6 Liter, e85 capable V6 engine become the new standard engine, replacing the 3.7 Liter in-line 5 cylinder engine. There had also been some testing done on diesel engines for the H3, but mainly for overseas consumption due to the United States’ stiffer emissions regulations.
The H2 was originally supposed to undergo its first body style change in 2010, which would also pave the way for additions like a diesel option, and also a longer pickup-truck style H2. Even though GM ended their investment in these H2 projects over a year ago, it’s known that much of the design work had already been completed.
The same goes for the HUMMER HX, which was the concept model for HUMMER’s next smaller model, the H4. Much of the final design work had already been completed by the time the HX concept debuted in Detroit. The HX garnered so much attention that it got booked last minute to appear at the Geneva auto show, and even landed a role in the upcoming Transformers movie.
Last but not least, there’s the silent sleeper: the HUMMER H1. The H1 was so minuscule in the grand plans at GM that they simply didn’t have time to market it correctly. Even before GM promised Congress they were going to focus on core brands, they realized that selling a few hundred extreme vehicles wasn’t as important to the bottom line as a few million family friendly vehicles. That doesn’t mean there’s not a market – that just means GM wasn’t able to cater to that market effectively. It’s very possible that a new owner could bring back the H1, and devote the time and resources to make it successful even at lower volumes. Although, the new owner may start off with H1 sales overseas, since the expense of upgrading the diesel engine to meet U.S. standards was also among the reasons given for H1’s demise.
There are many that fear a separation from General Motors would be a bad move for HUMMER, but if it means having next generation H2s, H3Ts, H2s, and seeing the H4 and H1 in production in a year or two, I’m all for it.