As an automaker, almost 10 years have passed since the the last example of the H3 rolled off the production line. Even then, it was more or less accepted that ‘Hummer’ was more valuable and recognisable as a brand than known for their vehicles, which were often criticised for their shoddy quality, hilariously bad fuel economy and impracticality despite its size.
Amazingly, General Motors had the foresight to retain the brand when the group filed for bankruptcy in 2009. Now, after years of keeping it in its back pocket during their financial bailout and recovery, they’re considering relaunching it as purveyor premium electric-only SUVs.
According to Reuters, GM intends to start building new vehicles bearing the Hummer name as early as 2021 at its Detroit-Hamtramck plant, as told by several insiders familiar with the company’s plans. With a such a recognisable badge, there’s little doubt that these vehicles will gain traction with EV-craving customers in North America, particularly in California.
The large SUVs will, naturally, retain the boxy styling that H2 and H3 guarded, inspired by the AM General Humvee military vehicle that was adapted into civilian use as the Hummer H1. However, an all-new battery-electric platform will underpin it. Internally, GM dubs their electric truck/SUV program ‘BT1’ and it’s possible that a reborn Hummer will be first to emerge.
Going forward, the company also has serious plans for a fully electric pick-up to be based on those same foundations and technologies, again with the possibility of it being slotted into the new Hummer range. However, broader plans include large luxury SUVs for subsidiary brands such as Cadillac as well.
General Motors seem to be following Tesla’s lead somewhat by starting off their renewed electric portfolio with more profitable high-end vehicles before sinking their teeth into more higher volume but more affordable offerings. Start-ups such as Rivian also parallel this approach, but GM in particular has the scar tissue from cars like the Chevy Volt and Bolt as incentive to reconsider their attack.
Auto Forecast Solutions vice president of global vehicle forecasting Sam Fiorani told Reuters: “Putting a Hummer badge on anything is a great idea for General Motors because half the marketing is already paid for,” he said. “Making it environmentally friendly is just icing on the cake.”