Hummer nears the end of the trailWed, 26 May 2010 00:00:00 -0700
The curtain is rapidly falling on Hummer, General Motors' ill-fated rough-and-tough brand of trucks and SUVs.
The final H3 rolled off the assembly line at 9:07 a.m. Central time on Tuesday at the Hummer factory in Shreveport, La., marking the end of production for the brand, a spokesman said.
Hummer is being wound down after a deal with a Chinese company fell apart in February. The dealer network, which would have given the Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co. a foothold in the United States, remains the primary asset. There are about seven standalone dealerships, but many more are part of other dealerships with other brands.
It's “highly unlikely” another deal would be struck, GM spokesman Nick Richards said. Letters were sent to dealers offering details of the wind down in April. The deal with Tengzhong was scuttled after it failed to achieve regulatory approvals in China.
The Louisiana factory will close no later than 2012, GM has said. The site is still building Chevrolet Colorados and GMC Canyons.
The remaining H3s assembled recently are actually under recall for a hood-louver problem that requires replacing the plastic caps that secure the parts.
Hummer staked its identity on all-terrain ability and a blocky design that stood out a bit in the midsize-SUV segment. But as gasoline prices rose several years ago and consumers began shifting to smaller crossovers, the brand was hit particularly hard. It has also suffered from a lack of fresh and diverse products in recent years. GM killed the H1, a military-inspired off-roader that defined the brand, after the 2006 model year. It's since relied on two products, the H2 and slightly smaller H3, which came in SUV and truck versions. A Baja-styled HX concept was revealed at the 2008 Detroit auto show, but never came close to production.
The Hummer H1 was a halo--and lightning rod for the brand before it was discontinued by General Motors.
Hummer has also been a lightning rod for publicity--good and bad. It drew the ire of environmentalists for its gas-hog image yet was frequently a ride of choice for celebrities. Hummers were also lauded as sturdy vehicles that helped in hurricane and natural-disaster relief efforts.
Current owners can still get their vehicles serviced at GM dealers, and the vehicles are still covered under warranty. Hummer has sold 1,336 vehicles this year, down from 2009's tally of 4,019.
By Greg Migliore