It may seem like just yesterday, but last week marked the fifth anniversary of the demise of General Motors’ Hummer brand.
The last Hummer ever built, an H3 model, rolled off the line at GM’s Shreveport, Louisiana, factory on May 24, 2010. Not a glamorous end, the last batch of 849 H3s was built to fulfill an order for the Avis rent-a-car company.
Of course Hummer had a much more interesting start to life, with the company’s original Humvee, introduced in 1984, still standing as a symbol for the American armed forces. Looking to build upon that go-anywhere reputation, GM bought the rights to the Hummer brand in 1998.
Although GM continued to market the Humvee, albeit under the H1 banner, the company’s attention turned to creating SUVs for the civilian market. The H2 was the first vehicle to launch the new Hummer in 2002 and was an instant success, generating about 30,000 sales per year. Hummer followed up the H2 with the smaller H3 based on GM’s mid-size pickup trucks.
Hummer’s popularity took a sharp hit around 2006, however, as the brand became the poster child for excess and waste in the United States. Things got even worse as gas prices climbed past $4 a gallon and the great recession took hold.
GM announced in 2009 that it would sell the Hummer brand as part of its bankruptcy reorganization. GM initially struck a deal with China’s Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Company for $150 million, but the deal ultimately fell through after several delays. In February 2010, GM announced that it was closing Hummer for good. By May 24th of that year, Hummer was dead.