It's Official: The H1 is History

Big business finally caught up and passed the Hummer brand name

Jun. 01, 2006 By Manny MacMillan

Big business finally caught up and passed the Hummer brand name. GM has announced that June would be the last month of production for the H1 Alpha. H1, H2, and H3 owners alike expressed their disappointment following the news. One H2 owner told me “it is like losing a member of our family – losing a big brother.”

But perhaps this big brother was getting a little long in the tooth anyhow? Sales had been diminishing year after year, with orders for 2 years from dealerships dropping to below 500 – less than 300 trucks per year in projected sales for 2006 and 2007. With new EPA standards forcing automakers to spend large sums of money recertifying every vehicle, spending that kind of money on a “less than 300 per year” truck just wasn’t in the cards for GM.

To be fair, it has been one heck of a run for the H1 (or just plain “Hummer” as it was known before the introduction of the H2.) Who would have imagined that this rudimentary example of clever engineering would eventually become a $140,000+ dollar luxury SUV?

The most disturbing part of the whole announcement has been the press coverage. Even after the truck has been around for well over a dozen years, hack reporters are claiming that the H1 gets “less than 10 miles per gallon,” suggesting that this had something to do with the demise of the model. Anyone who just reads these articles and digs no further might be surprised to find out that at about 11-14 mpg, the H1 gets more mpg on diesel than most gasser H2’s do.

It will be interesting to see what GM does to replace the H1 with another “flagship” vehicle. Whether a concept vehicle or a new production vehicle, they will likely need to come up with something for the brand to survive in the long term. The H2 and H3 are decently capable trucks, but it is unlikely that either can carry the Hummer brand. When the HMMWV’s stop rolling off the production line in Indiana, GM should probably have their answer waiting in the wings.

Some of us who have been around to remember when the Hummer name was exotic and truly rare believe it would be nice to see AM General step up and pull a ringer out of their factory when this is all said and done; they pulled that off once before when a fellow named Arnold knocked on their doors back in the early nineties. I wonder what it would take to get another character-rich truck to roll out into civilian hands.

While there are those who are angry at GM and AM General for cancelling the future versions of their prized trucks, there are still many Hummer enthusiasts that will be converging in South Bend, Indiana to participate in Hummer Homecoming 2006 later this month. I’m heading out that way myself – I’ll let you know how it goes. Newsletter
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