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Hummer may be scrapped

Hummer's size has made it a target for greenie activists, but Richards defends the vehicle.

This week a planned deal by General Motors to sell the army-style brand to a Chinese company collapsed, however GM is still considering expressions of interest from several other potential buyers.  Hummer Club Australia founder Tom Richards, 36, said he was confident the iconic brand would either be bought or, at worst, shelved for a few years before being reborn when economic conditions became more suitable.

"I fell in love with them when I first saw them," said Richards who owns a H3 Luxury with "loads of four-wheel-drive accessories".  It's a serious off-roader that will hold its own off road with anything.  I love the looks. It's different and I don't like to follow the pack."

Hummer's size has made it a target for greenie activists, but Richards defends the vehicle and finds no conflict in being the owner of Reverse Organic Recycling and a Hummer owner.  "There is a big misconception of the vehicle's environmental footprint," he said.

"The H3 is more economical than the petrol Prado.  I haven't had any abuse, but you do get rude gestures from some people; like I really care.  The positives outweigh the negatives. Little kids just love them."

Richards founded Hummer Club Australia early last year and has about 240 internet members worldwide.  GM Holden said that if the Hummer was axed, they would continue to honour warranties and provide service support and spare parts to current Hummer owners.

Richards said there was also a ‘huge range of aftermarket accessories still available’.  "If it does get axed, it may increase the vehicle's value because enthusiasts will still want them."

History

Hummer began in the early 1980s when AM General developed the M998 Series High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV, pronounced Humvee).  The US Army awarded a contract to build the massive 4WD vehicle which featured in the first Gulf War in 1991.

It became an unlikely star of the TV coverage of the first Gulf War and Schwarzenegger asked AM General to build him a civilian version with a Corvette V8 engine.  This attracted so much attention, they began making civilian versions as serious off-road vehicles.

GM took over in 2002 and renamed the vehicle the Hummer H1, then followed up with a new, smaller model called the H2 which has been imported into Australia in small numbers by right-hand-drive conversion companies such as Performax International in Gympie since 2005.

That was the year GM produced the H3 midsized SUV which arrived here in right-hand drive two years later, the delay due to several Australian Design Standards issues.

GM Holden created a premium brand unit to sell Hummer and Saab, with 273 H3s sold in 2007, rising to 1078 in 2008 and only 429 last year.  GM this year sold Saab to Dutch sportscar company Spyker.