Feb 272010

General Motors announced this week that its negotiations to sell the Hummer brand to a Chinese company have fallen through, and barring a Saab-Stryker-type save, it seems highly likely the brand will die.  (Cue exaggerated rejoicing from the usual quarters.)

Yeah, yeah, rape the planet and all that, but the bottom line is that Hummers always got a double dose of hatred because they are/were very expensive.  The H2 started north of $60,000.  The H1, the civilian version of the HMMWV, was well into six figures.  Consequently, neither car ever sold in any significant volume, so it’s tough to argue either one was a huge hit on the earth, but never mind.  Only rich people could afford them, and nothing like stoking a little wealth envy, eh?

GM was addressing Hummer’s problems, just not quickly enough:

  • The H3, the volume leader, was sized similarly to any number of other mid-size SUVs, and priced not so far off either.  Therefore it was a fine choice for a person who needed to a) carry folks; and b) off-road, tow, or both.  (I don’t much care for the truck-based SUV driving experience, but if I had those needs, I’d have one.)
  • The Hx, a concept car at the time of Hummer’s death, would have competed with the Jeep Wrangler, and wouldn’t it have been a coup to bring it to market as a capable off-roader that was also a 30-mpg hybrid?  Someone might have thought of that.

Though I didn’t resent them, GM never built a Hummer I wanted.  I have little specific passion about Hummer’s demise.  However, I do note that it’s consumer choice diminished a bit further, which is entirely consistent with the umbrella narrative many of its detractors desire.

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