GM to Revive the Hummer Nameplate as an Electric Pickup & SUV Brand, Sources Say
Electric trucks have become all the rage in the auto industry over the past year, with a crop of new electric truck startups like Rivian securing billion dollar investments from e-commerce giant Amazon and the Ford Motor Company. Ford is also working an an electric version of its F-150 pickup, the best selling truck in the U.S. for over 40 consecutive years.
Now General Motors is planning on resurrecting the Hummer nameplate as a new electric truck brand, sources said to the Wall Street Journal on Friday. GM declined to comment.
The first commercials for the Hummer electric trucks are expected to run during this year's Superbowl on February 2, which serves as one of the most important (and most expensive) advertising opportunities for companies each year.
Two people briefed on the matter told Reuters that GM will revive the Hummer name on a new family of electric pickup trucks. GM's Superbowl ad will feature NBA star LeBron James.
The Hummer brand, once popular with celebrities such as James, including former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who famously drove one. The Hummer brand was axed by General Motors after the automaker filed bankruptcy during the recession of 2009 after GM failed to find a buyer for it.
The Hummer vehicles, which included the H1, H2 and H3 SUVs, were also chastised for hulking presence and their terrible fuel economy at a time when other automakers were working hard to increase fuel efficiency across their lineups.
The Hummer H3 was the smallest model in the Hummer lineup.
News about a possible return of Hummer was first reported last fall. In October 2019, it was revealed that GM was planning to build a new family of premium electric pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles at its Detroit-Hamtramck plant beginning in late 2021, possibly reviving the Hummer badge on some of the new electric vehicles.
This time around, the Hummer vehicles will sold under the GMC nameplate, which is GM's dedicated truck and commercial vehicle division.
The electric truck and SUV program is the centerpiece of a planned $3 billion investment by GM in its Detroit-Hamtramck plant to make electric trucks and vans, and part of a broader $7.7 billion investment in GM's U.S. plants over the next four years. The investments were part of a new contract signed with the United Auto Workers union last year.
The investment moves the automaker into a part of the EV market that is largely untested. Truck buyers are known to be loyal to their brands. GM however, has a higher likelihood of turning a profit if the Hummer becomes a hit with truck buyers, analysts said.
The truck and SUV markets in the U.S. are the most profitable for both GM and Ford.
GM plans to build its first electric pickups in late 2021, followed by an electric SUV in 2023. Meanwhile, electric truck makers Tesla, Rivian and Bollinger Motors are developing new models that promised to offer more utility and power than their gas-powered rivals.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed the company's highly touted Cybertruck in November that it plans on building in 2021. Amazon-backed Rivian will begin building 100,000 electric delivery vans for the e-commerce giant starting in 2021. Amazon plans to add the zero emission electric trucks to its delivery fleet
The Hummer brand was based on was a hulking HUMVEE utility vehicle made by AM General for the U.S. military. GM introduced a smaller version called the H2 in 2002 and produced it until 2009. GM made a slightly smaller version named the H3 from 2005 to 2010.
Both the H2 and H3 were targeted by environmentalists for their poor fuel economy, but an all-electric Hummer model might be more widely accepted in today's market.
Michael Harley, executive editor for Kelley Blue Book, said "the original Hummer was ostracized out of showrooms for being heavy and ponderous with an insatiable appetite for gasoline. An all-electric powertrain essentially exonerates the truck on all charges."
The electric Hummer will be part of a new family of vehicles known called "BT1." The BT1 vehicles will use a new dedicated electric vehicle architecture, including a "skateboard" chassis that bundles the electric motor and batteries.
Auto Forecast Solutions vice president of global vehicle forecasting Sam Fiorani said to Reuters in October when rumors about the return of the Hummer brand first surfaced that he expects the Hummer electric truck to sell at around $90,000 to $100,000.
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