Thursday, February 25, 2010

Hummer Graveyard

Hummers get a bad rap. Yeah, they burn a lot of gas. So what? Cadillac Escalades, Chevy Suburbans and a lot of van-style vehicles burn gas at roughly the same rate as new Hummers. How far does a new Hummer go on a gallon of gas? About 16 miles.

The original Hummer, the H1, was a gas hog, drinking a gallon every ten miles. But Hummer sales were never high. And based on used-Hummer data, owners treated them like show-horses, taking them out only occasionally.

As the following article states, annual Hummer sales peaked a few years ago at 71,000 vehicles before slumping to 9,000 last year. Compare these figures with the size of the global fleet of cars -- 750 million. Furthermore, auto experts predict the global fleet will quadruple to 3 billion vehicles by the middle of this century. Even if most of those vehicles sip gas like a Prius, the aggregate consumption of gasoline will explode.

Meanwhile, the low sales figures and the limited use of these vehicles raises a question. How much gas has been burned by all Hummers? The answer: Not Much.

Based on profiles of used Hummers, it appears most owners drive them about 7,000 miles a year. Not much. Considering the small number of Hummers on the road, the aggregate gas consumption by these vehicles is insignificant.

Gas-guzzler goes after China sale fails

By PAUL THARP, February 25, 2010

The ultimate gas-guzzler has finally run out of gas.

General Motors yesterday said it will shut down manufacturing of the hulking Hummer brand for good after a year-long effort to sell its operations to a Chinese company collapsed.

China's Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machines Co. had agreed to pay $150 million to buy the brand, once popular among rap artists, but pulled out of the protracted talks after Beijing KO'd the plan.

China already has more than 80 domestic car manufacturers and imports numerous models from GM and other Western automakers.

After achieving cult-like status in the US -- four years ago GM sold 71,000 Hummers -- $4-a-gallon gas, combined with the recession, delivered lethal blows to a brand with vehicles that averaged just 10 miles per gallon. Last year, GM sold only 9,000 Hummers.

However, in China's urban areas, the Hummer brand remained sought after among the country's moneyed young entrepreneurs, who were infatuated with its huge size and muscular and militaristic styling.

"We are disappointed that the deal with Tengzhong could not be completed," said John Smith, GM vice president of corporate planning and alliances. Unless an eleventh-hour buyer emerges, the plug will be pulled on Feb. 28.

"GM will now work closely with Hummer employees, dealers and suppliers to wind down the business in an orderly and responsible manner." It said it will continue to honor existing Hummer warranties.

Originally built for the military, the hulking vehicle first went on sale to the public in 1999. The H1 model, which was popularized by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, was priced at $140,000.

It was followed by lighter and less wasteful models, the H2 and the H3, which is the brand's most fuel-efficient vehicle at 16 miles per gallon.

A version of the Hummer is still made for the military. It is manufactured by AM General, which isn't involved with GM.

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Anonymous Herneith said...

I always wanted a Hummer, but not the car type!

1:45 PM  

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