HUMMER Brand to Define Tagline, Increase Advertising, Build H4 and H5

HUMMER has some big changes in the near future, and that means it’s CEO Jim Taylor has a very large to-do list. On that list are kick-starting HUMMER sales, spending big on advertising, defining the “Like Nothing Else,” tagline, and increasing HUMMER’s product portfolio to include smaller vehicles like the H4 and H5.

“All our plans have to be in place so as to be ready to fire Dec. 1,” Taylor told Automotive News. That’s the date he hopes to have approval from the U.S. and Chinese government to complete the sale of the HUMMER brand to Chinese manufacturer Tengzhong. According to Taylor, that process is expected to take around four to six weeks and 12/1 marks week 6. Naturally, there was a caveat that it could take longer.

Dealers are anxious for the deal to close, since the memory of GM’s unsuccessful attempt to sell Saturn to Penske Automotive group is still fresh in their mind. “The quicker this closes, the sooner we see a business plan, the happier we’ll be,” said Chistopher Leggio, president of a HUMMER dealer in Ontario, CA.

Once the deal is complete, Taylor says to top items on HUMMER’s to-do list are:

• Boost dealer inventory
• Change brand perception with aggressive marketing
• Increase global sales to 25,000 by 2010
• Develop a future product plan and find a manufacturer
• Make future products comply with CAFE rules

In the near-term, Taylor says that HUMMER needs to let the world know that, “We’re alive and well; we’re here; we’re open for business, and we’ve got product.” With production of H3 and H3T regular production starting earlier this month, dealers will soon see a much needed boost to their inventories.

To get that message out, Tengzhong has already agreed to “spend a lot of money upon closing,” according to Taylor, who declined to give an exact amount, though it’s been rumored that the long-term budget for the Chinese company to invest in HUMMER is between $800 million and $2 billion.

Taylor says that Tengzhong has agreed to an annual marketing budget similar in scope to HUMMER’s 2008 budget, which according to TNS Media Intelligence was just short of $70 million.

In 2010, Taylor’s goal will be to sell 25,000 HUMMER around the world, and expects 20,000 of those sales in the U.S., a significant increase over 2009, an admittedly tough year for the brand that’s future was in doubt for much of the year. Through October, 2009 U.S. HUMMER sales were at 8,500.

Defining “Like Nothing Else”

HUMMER will keep the tagline, but the definition will change. If it doesn’t, Taylor says the risk is you “use an old line, keep your old products, but the world changes and now you’re irrelevant.”

The risk of becoming irrelevant is the only reason HUMMER will be motivated to come up with new, smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles. Government regulations have mandated that all light-vehicle manufacturers must have an average of 35.5 mpg by 2016, and as HUMMER separates itself from GM, that challenge becomes immense.

“There’s no way you can make those numbers without changing the product portfolio,” says Taylor.

New HUMMER Products

HUMMER’s soon-to-be new parent company Tengzhong has hired an Austrian engineering consultant to help HUMMER determine its “ultimate product plan.” Taylor says electric and hybrid powertrains will be used in the portfolio to meet the fuel-efficiency requirements.

Tengzhong will have access to the plans already drawn up by GM for the H4, a smaller vehicle based on the HX concept, which HUMMER hopes to release within three years.

Following the H4 will be an even smaller H5. Taylor says that the H4 and H5 will eventually make up the majority of sales, similar to shift from the H2 to the smaller H3.

The production location of all HUMMER models is up in the air after the current contracts with GM run out. Options include continuing to contract GM for the work, or taking manufacturing in-house.

HUMMERGuy’s Take

This all sounds like great news for the brand, though if the timeline on the H4 is really three years and expected to hit around 2011 or 2012, HUMMER may find out that its dealers and customers aren’t so patient. After all, three years from today is quite lengthy considering it was first revealed as a concept in 2007. If HUMMER is really trying to be leaner and faster, the H4 will be their chance to prove they can do it.

What about the H5? The HX concept is pretty small – two doors and four seats. Making a vehicle smaller than that would mean cutting the seating capacity down to two passengers – something there may not be much of a market for. That is unless the H4 is actually bigger than the HX concept (think four doors), and the H5 is actually closer to the HX concept with two doors and four seats.

In any event, HUMMER will need to release a vehicle very close to the HX concept soon, and do its best to decrease the three year lead-time on its release.

Source: Automotive News

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  1. Since Toyota is rumored to be deleting the FJ Cruiser from it’s lineup soon, I think a small but loyal niche could be developed for a 2 door Hummer…but it has to have street cred as a real off-road machine. Hard to imagine “hybrid” and “real off road machine” in the same sentence, but I’m as open to the concept as anyone.

  2. Electric models have some serious potential for off-road considering the torque they can put out. Right now the problem is with the range and expense of those systems.

  3. This is great and all but three years away is a LONG time indeed for something that should have most of the ground work done already.

    Also the talk of making it more fuel efficient scares me into thinking they are going to water down that HX and we will wind up with something like the Jeep Compass but in Hummer form.

    For example, I want the HX to be the Wrangler of Hummer, not the Compass or Patriot or Commander of Hummer.

    We want an offroad, open air vehicle Hummer!

  4. I really, really hope so. That HX concept is perfect as is.

  5. Interesting… I agree on the waiting time though – I’m hoping that 3 years is an overstatement.

  6. Waiting another 3 years to release a 2007 design sounds dangerous to me. By then the design could be more or less obsolete and that’s probably the last thing Hummer needs. In addition to HX / H4 / H5 I’d think that a facelift / revision of the H3 is in order… A 5 or 6 speed transmission, stronger front end components and a revised rear spring setup is needed in my opinion.

  7. I hope they consider working on hydrogen fueled options. That might be a ticket to get back in the game as they will be far behind on the electric engines. Leap-frog the competition with a good hydrogen fuel source could be a great way to turn public perception around quickly.

  8. Are the front end components that bad in an H3???

  9. No, could it be better, yes.


    Hellbound13 Says:
    November 16th, 2009 at 6:05 pm
    Are the front end components that bad in an H3???

  10. in my opinion, hummer needs to release this vehicle (h4) soon. 3 yrs is much too long and, from what i’ve seen at the auto show, the vehicle looked right just the way it was.

  11. Hummer never should have been brought by GM in the first place. The time for huge, gas guzzling vehicles is over, now is the time for smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles, and there is NO REASON why Hummer should even be sold as passenger vehicles that douches can look retarded on their way to work and the gym. I can see why some people may see the need for Hummers, such as hauling things, off roading, whatever, but Hummer’s budget needs to be to a realistic, demand based setting. The state of GM is not stable enough and the market doesnt support a future for Hummer. Shouldve been dropped instead of Pontiac. Any new develpoment for Hummer is a HUGE, HUUUUUUGE mistake on the part of GM, and may lead to their total collapse.

  12. Thanks for stopping by, Mark –

    Do you hold the same disgust for Ford 150s (the #1 selling vehicle in America), Nissan Trucks and SUVs, etc – all of which have the same (or worse) efficiency and less capability than HUMMER models?

    You say there is “no reason” for HUMMERs – why not let the market decide that?

  13. the hummer Hx is an amazing concept. i feel a three year wait can also be a suicidal move for this vehicle. in three years the hype and excitement over this vehicle will definitely diminish witch will hurt hummers sales guaranteed. In many eyes, hummer has always been a gas gosling, expensive giant on the road. however the hummer Hx project price range and fuel efficiency is turning heads in the publics eyes on how they view hummers. this smaller, more aggressive concept is a huge appeal to the public and GM should really acknowledge this fact and take advantage of it while they can.

  14. Gm could not sell Hummer and will stop the line. The H4 will end up ike the scout3.