The GMC Hummer: From Rise to Fall and Back Again – A Story of Resilience and Revival

The Hummer’s military background and rugged look made it a sensation in the 2000s. The gas guzzler died and passed on its legacy to the GMC Hummer EV.

If gas guzzlers had an ambassador, it would be the Hummer. The 4WD monsters were some of General Motors’ most iconic vehicles, and it became the car of stars in the early 2000s. Celebrities, talk show hosts, and NBA stars, anybody who was anybody had to have a Hummer in their garage as a part of their car collection.

The Pickup ‘SUT’ and SUV broke out of the US and started picking up sales globally. Hummer sales peaked in 2006, selling 71,524 units in a single year, making GM alot of money. Yet, in 2010, production suddenly came to a halt. The once over-hyped vehicle depreciated rapidly as everyone started to sell them off. The Hummer was no more and became a relic of the past.

Hummer was gone, but GM never really wiped the name off their slate. In the fall of 2021, GMC popped a bottle of champagne to celebrate its reborn Goliath with the same name. The new GMC Hummer EV enters dealerships with a solution to the problem that sent its gas-powered ancestor out of business.

If there were two things that made the Hummer popular, it was its rugged look and military background. The ‘Humvee’ was a high-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle that AM General mass-produced for the US military. The Humvee received the spotlight during the invasion of Panama and Persian Gulf War. Watching a 6,300-pound beast plowing through the desert sand became a sensation as videos of the conflicts showed up on news reports.

In 1992, following some convincing from the Austrian Oak, Arnold Schwarzenegger, AM General started producing Humvees for civilian use. Arnold bought the first, and then hundreds of off-roaders and celebrities followed. The new Hummer retained most of its military aesthetic while undergoing modifications to become a city driver. Despite the changes, the Hummer was notorious for being unreliable for daily use.

That’s when General Motors swept in. Unlike AM General, the automaker had nearly a century’s worth of experience in selling consumer-spec vehicles. Working their magic, they rebuilt the Hummer and its reputation as an ex-military SUV/Pickup that every man must have. They relied on the male population as their primary audience, which was met with backlash on several occasions. Yet, things got better when the H2 took to the roads in 2002.

The new enormous machine had more curves than the H1 without sacrificing the military look. Sales skyrocketed, and GM amped up their production numbers to meet a seemingly endless demand. The mid-2000s marked the golden years of the Hummer, with sales going up to 71,524 in 2006 following the release of the H3. For comparison, it was just shy of the Jeep Wrangler, which appeals to a similar audience. Jeep sold 80,271 examples the same year according to GoodcarBadcar.

Like with many great stories, the downfall of the protagonist begins with their greatest strength. The Hummer was good at what it does – being a powerful off-roader that had no trouble towing upwards of 8000 lbs. The problem was, it was too good at being a Hummer; it was expensive to operate under the darkening skies of a severe financial crisis.

Oil prices shot up, and the Hummer needed too much of it. The H3 scaled down the cost and demanded less fuel, but it wasn’t enough to keep selling off the showroom floors. GM filed for bankruptcy in 2009, and discontinued the Hummer in 2010.

The Hummer collapsed under its own enormous weight as the demand for gas guzzlers died out with the financial crisis. For nearly a decade, the Hummer badge was a reminder of the past, when the economy was booming and off-roaders can load up giant fuel tanks.

The next ten years were silent for Hummer, and many speculated that the Goliaths were gone for good. Yet, advancements in battery technology and electric motors inspired new hope. Many carmakers were riding the electric wave that Tesla set off, and GM was the latest to jump on board.

GM saw an opportunity to revive the Hummer, and they took it. Rebranded as the Hummer EV, GMC announced the return of the beloved SUV and pickup truck, but with a radical change. The new giant will resemble the H2 with its body, grille, size, and giant wheels, but it’s an entirely different breed under the hood (or perhaps the floor). The Hummer is now powered by a 212-kWh battery pack and three electric motors.

The Hummer EV was bigger, badder, and more capable than the H2. The new electric beast churns out a mind-boggling 1000 horsepower that its ICE ancestor could only dream of. Electrification increased its weight to 9000 lbs, and eliminated its impact on the environment, as GMC will have you believe.

The GMC Hummer EV recorded massive success in its first year of sales, carrying the label as the world’s first ‘all-electric supertruck’. In 2023, GMC announced the Hummer EV 3X, which will have an improved range and Extreme Off-Road package,

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