Hummers were originally built by AM General
Corporation, formerly the military and government vehicle division
of American Motors, in its South Bend, Indiana assembly plant. AM
General had planned to sell a civilian version of the Hummer as far
back as the late 1980s. In 1990, two matching white Hummers were
driven from London to Beijing over the rough roads of central Soviet
Union. The Hummers made the trip with ease, for they were built to
drive on off-road terrain. The highlights of this journey were
broadcast in the United States on ESPN. This publicity would pale in
comparison to the attention that the HMMWV received for its service
in Operation: Desert Storm the following year.
In 1995, AM General began selling a civilian
version of the M998 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV
or Hum-Vee) vehicle to the public under the brand name "Hummer".
According to legend, they began doing so after Arnold Schwarzenegger
asked them to; apparently, he was impressed by a convoy of HMMWV's
that drove by during his filming Kindergarten Cop in 1992. In 1998,
AM General sold the brand name to General Motors but continued to
manufacture the vehicles. GM is responsible for the marketing and
distribution of all Hummers produced by AM General. In the next few
years, GM introduced two new homegrown models, the H2 and H3, and
renamed the original vehicle H1. AM General continues to build the
H1 and is contracted by GM to produce the H2. The H3 is built in
Shreveport, LA alongside the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon
pickups. As of 2006, Hummer has gone international with selected
importers and distributors in Europe and other markets.
Since October 10, 2005, GM has been producing the Hummer H3 at its
Port Elizabeth plant in South Africa for international markets.
Hummers at the Port Elizabeth plant will be built both for local
South African consumption and for export to Australia (for the 2008
model year), Europe, the Middle East, and Japan. As of October 2006,
Hummer vehicles are marketed by about 300 dealers in 34 countries.
173 of those are in the U.S.
The H2 is also assembled in Kaliningrad, Russia, by Avtotor,
starting in June 2004. The plant produces a few hundred vehicles
annually, and its output is limited to local consumption (five
dealers in Russia initially).
On May 12, 2006, GM announced it would cease production of the
original H1 Hummer.
GM CEO Rick Wagoner has said the Hummer
brand of trucks will run on Biodiesel The Hummer H1 is basically a
HMMWV built for civilian use; it, obviously, has no armor or weapons
fittings. However, the drive-train, frame, body, suspension, etc.,
are exactly the same. The H1 differs from the HMMWV in having a
civilian interior, including trim, comfortable seats, stereo, and
air conditioning as standard options. As a result of its commercial
use, features introduced in the civilian Hummer have been
incorporated into improved military versions. The H1's electrical
system is 12 volts, with the two batteries wired in parallel. The
HMMWV runs off a 24V system, where the two batteries are run in
series to generate 24 volts. Since all Hummer vehicles have
heavy-duty capabilities better than all other SUVs (the only SUV
that's better the hummer h1 is the land cruiser) , they have been
employed by owners for aid in large disaster situations. Hummer
Owners Prepared for Emergencies (HOPE) was created by the efforts of
The Hummer Club, INC. and the American Red Cross. Together, the two
organizations train Hummer owners with CPR and First Aid skills, and
basic off-highway skills so that they may assist victims during a