When the phrase “general purpose vehicle” is mentioned, images of the classic military Jeep often come to mind right off the bat. While the Jeep conjures up numerous images of adventures on the open road, and while the Jeep has been the “motorized symbol of the American army during WWII and the Korean War,” there is another vehicle that became a new general purpose vehicle to contend with the Jeep: the Hummer.
This vehicle emerged in the 1980s, but the Hummer car company did not begin producing civilian versions of the vehicle until the company’s founding in 1992 in Mishawaka, Indiana.
The military vehicle rose from the AM General Corporation, which was interestingly previously AMC-Jeep’s General Products division. This type of High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle was almost immediately dubbed a “Humvee” by soldiers who found the military name for the vehicles far too lengthy and too difficult to say. It was quickly officially renamed “Hummer” and harbored accolades for its invaluable assistance in the Gulf War Operation: Desert Storm.
Then, in 1999, General Motors took over the Hummer brand name and produced the H2 and H3 vehicles. However, at the start of the new millennium, GM faced an increasingly pressing issue, one that eventually placed a wrench in General Motor’s production of the Hummer car. Due to skyrocketing gas prices and a dip in demand for large sport utility vehicles, the CEO of GM announced that the Hummer brand would undergo review and possibly would be discontinued altogether.
In terms of public awareness, there is no doubt that Hummer was best publicized by movie icon, Arnold Swarzenegger. In 1990, Swarzenegger caught one glimpse of a military Hummer driving in high gear during Operation Desert Storm and decided he had to get his hands on his very own Hummer. So, AMG constructed a civilian model for the movie star, catapulting the Hummer name to “must-have” status overnight.
Despite being a force to be reckoned with, Hummers have been under scrutiny since their origins. While other large sport utility vehicles have been targeted and criticized for some of their inefficient elements, Hummer has been subject to an immense set of specific criticisms. For example, the size has been ridiculed as a safety hazard and a threat to other, smaller cars that may be driving nearby. What’s more, the fuel inefficiency aspect of the Hummer type has been an issue in an economy bent on minimizing cost of gas.
Through the Hummer history, the company has manufactured a broad array of noteworthy vehicles ranging from sport utility vehicle types to trucks to concept cars. Among the most popular models are the following: Hummer H1, Hummer H2(H2 SUV and H2 SUT), Hummer H3 and Hummer HX. Some of the Hummer versions made for military purposes include the M1038, M1025, M1026, M966 and M998. Today, the brand, Hummer, stands for all that is tough, rough and rhapsodical. Regardless of which way you slice it, Hummer holds the title as being a king of the road and will continue humming down streets with the powerful force it was designed to transude.