You may have seen some coverage on a new ‘research’ study claiming that HUMMER owners feel they’re taking the ‘moral high-ground’ with their vehicle choice (see Autoblog’s coverage). The officials at HUMMER have looked over the report and have now released a response.
First, here is a brief summary from the authors of the 17-page study:
As we studied American Hummer owners and their ideological beliefs, we found that they consider Hummer driving a highly moral consumption choice. For Hummer owners it is possible to claim the moral high ground… The moralistic critique of their consumption choices readily inspired Hummer owners to adopt the role of the moral protagonist who defends American national ideals.
Here is HUMMER’s response:
We acknowledge the academic nature and intent of this study and appreciate the authors’ undertaking to understand the potential purchase motivation of HUMMER owners. However, the authors base their findings on interviews with 20 owners in LA, San Diego and San Francisco, a scientifically insignificant sample size that represents less than .008 percent of HUMMER owners, and from a geographic area including only one state of the 39 countries in which HUMMER vehicles are sold. The validity and statistical relevance of the research is further limited given that it only cites comments from five of the twenty interviewed subjects to support its conclusions.
In reality, consumers purchase vehicles for a wide variety of reasons, chief among them is how they fulfill a need, whether it is simply for transportation, hauling gear, or to facilitate the pursuit of hobbies and recreation. Our research shows that vehicle design, functionality, off-road capability and safety are the top criteria in HUMMER owners’ purchase consideration. In fact, research demonstrates that HUMMER owners are two times more likely to take their vehicle off-road as the average SUV owner.
As the manufacturer, HUMMER’s task is to provide vehicles that meet the consumer needs, as efficiently as possible, which is why HUMMER vehicles meet all global emissions standards and deliver fuel economy, based on EPA data, comparable to competitive trucks and SUVs from Toyota, Ford, Land Rover, Jeep, Dodge, Nissan, and several other vehicle manufacturers. Future HUMMER models will continue to improve in efficiency and capability though the use of light-weight materials, advanced gas and clean diesel engines and transmission technology.