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Aaron Gold

Where have all the Hummers gone?

By June 13, 2008

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Hummer H2I was having lunch with a coupe of fellow hacks the other day, when one said, "Have you noticed that you don't see any Hummer H2s any more?"

It immediately dawned on me that he was right. Despite its reputaiton as a left-wing bastion where everyone has their arms firmly around a tree, Los Angeles used to be Hummer H2 central. (Angelenos may love their environment, but they love their status symbols even more.) And yet, I suddenly realized that I couldn't remember the last time I'd seen a Hummer. Oh wait, yes I could -- I saw a Hummer H1 with a For Sale sign in Beverly Hills. Other than that, it seems the Hummers have done a rapid exit, stage left, even. How did that happen? How did so many drivers hide something so big, so quickly?

With talk that GM may try to sell Hummer, it's possible we're going to see a lot less H2s on the road. That said, if MINI can develop an SUV, I don't see why Hummer can't develop a subcompact. Why not just rebadge and reskin the Chevy Aveo and call it the Hummer H½?

As always, I'd like to hear your take on the Hummer deal. Have you been seeing fewer Hummers on the road? Can Hummer survive in a world of $4/gallon gas? If gas prices were to drop, would Hummer thrive again? Click the "comments" link below and have your say. -- Aaron Gold

Photo © Jason Fogelson

P.S. Have you cast your vote in the Boxster vs. Corvette poll yet?

Comments
June 13, 2008 at 2:18 pm
(1) Agent Mike says:

The H-2 Hummer was nothing more than a status symbol for people who had more money than sense. My poor brother in law was given one by his bride as a wedding gift. It was not very big inside, and did not have alot of storage. No Entertainment system for the kids, Not a practical vehicle for being as big on the outside as it is. I think it’s hay day has come and gone.

June 13, 2008 at 2:50 pm
(2) iameriica says:

It’s funny you asked this question. Just yesterday I was in Denver filling up my rental car and the guy on other side of the pump was driving a Hummer. I was about to ask him his thoughts on us paying $3.89 a gallon. Just then he opened his passenger door and reached for his suitcase. That explained everything; his company was most likely paying the $3.89 a gallon.

Rental car companies are offering great special on the larger cars. When I booked my car rental in Denver the cheapest was a small SUV. But when I arrived at the counter, they explained they had “upgraded” my car since I was a frequent renter to a Chevrolet Tahoe. Is that really an upgrade with the gas prices? But like the guy driving the Hummer, I knew my company was paying for the gas, so why not drive the Tahoe.

As far as Hummers, I live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Now that you bring it up…No, I haven’t seen many of them around. I drive by a Hummer dealership on my way to my office. I do see the 60’ gorilla bouncing around (that must cost a pretty penny as much as they have it out there) to make sure we know there still there!

June 13, 2008 at 3:05 pm
(3) Michael says:

As a Jeep driver, I was certainly interested to see if Hummer could make a rival to the Rubicon. Seems likely not to happen now. You should see less of the Hummers around and people who waste gas for the sake of novelty or ego and simply abuse the demand side of the equation should really get over it. If we all conserve a little we can drive the speculation out of the market. Perhaps by parking the H2s, they do get it. Hmmm.

June 13, 2008 at 5:47 pm
(4) pickup man says:

GET RID OF ALL THOSE POS’S

June 13, 2008 at 5:59 pm
(5) Steve in Georgia says:

I’m probably the wrong person to ask about seeing Hummers. One of my neighbors commutes to work in his Hummer every day, and I often see him driving by my house.

Can GM save Hummer? They can if they want to put enough cash behind the effort. Hummer’s current product line looks irrelevant at today’s gas prices, so GM would have to remake the brand, product portfolio and image to have any chance of reviving it. That would cost billions.

I doubt that GM will choose to do that. All three American car manufacturers currently have enough problems without having to take on the enormous expense of a Hummer renaissance. I expect GM will first try to sell Hummer, and failing that, they will kill the brand just as they did Oldsmobile.

Hummer, at least in its GM phase, has always been about fashion. Macho, military, able to leap tall buildings.

But, the shock of $4 gas and the prospect of even higher prices has had an odd effect on American drivers. Suddenly we have gotten practical about our transportation. Now, we are less interested in the fashion statement made by our car and more interested in how much it will cost us to get to work every week.

At the risk of sounding too pessimistic, I think that the day of the fun to drive car is past. And, we are entering the era of the transportation appliance. The editors at Consumer Reports magazine have won their war against impractical cars.

When you buy your next car, you will be able to count the cylinders on the fingers of one hand. And, the car will be available in any color you want, as long as it is grey.

June 13, 2008 at 6:14 pm
(6) Greg says:

It probably costs $10 just to start one of those stupid things!

June 13, 2008 at 6:20 pm
(7) Walt says:

I’m afraid Steve is onto something. I’m replacing my 94 Taurus SHO (220hp) with an ’02 Olds Alero (140hp). The Taurus is no gas hog (I get 26 on the freeway) but the Alero is averaging 30. Paid $5K for it with 42,000 miles. I’ll drive it until the makers come up with something both more frugal and more fun.

June 13, 2008 at 7:29 pm
(8) Kevin says:

GM really REALLY screwed up by not building enough motors to put the Duramax diesel in that truck. There are a bunch of firms out there doing high horsepower Duramax conversions and achieving 25 MPG with the H2 on Biodiesel (you gotta love diesel motors, when you modify them, their mileage get BETTER!) That vehicle is perfect for the Duramax engine so why put that undertorqued gas thing in there? A true example of extreme corporate brain lock if ever there was one. At this point that is the only hope for them salvaging the line. The only good part is that now I can think about picking one up DIRT cheap, yanking the gas motor out and doing a Duramax or Cummins conversion for less than what a new one will end up costing. I’d get true all road capability, power and torque up the Wazoo, an environmentally friendly exhaust (with Water/methanol injection to kill the NOX emissions from Bio) and enough torque to peel the tires off the rims and tow my house down the road.

June 13, 2008 at 7:35 pm
(9) hawaiian don says:

To me the Hummer was nothing but a caricature representing people with too much money to waste. I hope that the mentality that drove people to buy this ridiculous, wasteful machine dissappears along with the marque.

June 13, 2008 at 10:21 pm
(10) Bryan W says:

Maybe out in LA they’re vanishing from the roads, but here in Greenville, SC, there are more than ever. I see at least of them every day, and I only have a 1-mile commute. They are EVERYWHERE here. Granted this is an upscale neighborhood, but they don’t seem to be going anywhere.

I don’t know if this is related or not, but this area has been virtually untouched by the housing market decline too. House prices have been steadily rising here for the past 10 years and have shown no indication of declining or even plateuing.

BMW and Michelin are the big employers here and they are doing very, very well, constantly expanding and hiring.

June 13, 2008 at 10:22 pm
(11) Bryan W says:

Sorry, that should have said “at least 5 of them”.

June 14, 2008 at 1:09 am
(12) Mark Proulx says:

The fact that Hummers have survived at all, regardless of the price of gasoline, is a damning indictment of our society. An utter waste of natural resources, these vehicles and their ilk serve little more than an automotive counterpart to Viagra for their owners.

June 14, 2008 at 1:39 am
(13) hawaiian don says:

Hey Mark, that’s a pretty poor comparison. Viagra does not harm the environment,doesn’t waste a ton of natural resources and provides pleasure for many, at a small cost and causes no feelings of inadequacy. The Hummer on the other hand provides pleasure for a few but…

June 14, 2008 at 1:26 pm
(14) AutoEdge says:

Go to http://www.fuh2.com/ for more info on the H2

June 14, 2008 at 4:22 pm
(15) carl says:

I think the people that have hummers
are not all there . they waisted there money
on looks thats all .what do they get 5 miles
to the gallon and no room inside then they
put those ugly wheels and tires on them
boy what a mistake

June 14, 2008 at 10:10 pm
(16) Mike in Minn says:

Around here (northern Minnesota), the Hummers seem to have been replaced by Harley Davidson motorcycles which get far better mileage and have the same rough, tough image plus a bit of blue collar appeal. Over the last two years, the number of bikes on our roads here looks to me like it’s doubled.

June 15, 2008 at 4:16 am
(17) chris morgano says:

stupid f,ing vehicle, that says it all.

June 15, 2008 at 6:03 pm
(18) jim says:

Still plenty of wealthy knuckleheads around here in North Hollywood CA. with that ‘look at me’ guzzler. Not looking too intelligent these days as they’re basically working for the rich oil companies. Enjoy the Ride!

June 15, 2008 at 11:27 pm
(19) ssgtdac says:

The H1s and H2s might be dwindling but there are still alot of H3s out there. Interesting since it delivers even less capability and practicality in return for it’s endless list if faults and weaknesses than its predecessors. In the end, I think we, as Americans, will talk ourselves into and rationalize whatever wastefull and destructive s–t we want. The Hummers, 7 liter ‘vettes, HD pick-ups, and 6-7 liter luxo barges aren’t going anywhere, we just aren’t that smart anymore.

June 16, 2008 at 10:18 am
(20) Brian says:

The only true Hummers around here have advertising for sombody or other’s company plastered all over them. I think I have seen one in our city of 90K. The H2 and H3 “pseudo hummers” are around. They do seem to dwindle in numbers as the price of gas climbs higher, but no more than any other SUV.

June 16, 2008 at 1:26 pm
(21) H3Owner says:

Here in STL Missouri I see at least 5 H2′s and/or H3′s a day. I own an H3 that is supposed to get 20MPG on the highway. Probably not getting that but I sure do have fun with it on the weekends. No I am not running over baby seals with it.

June 16, 2008 at 1:34 pm
(22) Porter says:

Im so glad to see the mis informed so quick to jump on the hate band wagon I own 5 HUMMERs and every one gets around on biofuel my H2 uses E85 and my H3 as well. My 3 H1s all use WVO and get 18 MPG
A Jeep Wrangler gets less mileage than my H1 Alpha and cant tow 9000lbs. let alone go where my H1 goes and all of my trucks get off roaded frequently.

June 16, 2008 at 1:34 pm
(23) David Keller says:

Is it responsible to drive a Bigger car just because the company is paying for it or to drive a smaller car because We DO need to cut back our gas consumption in this country? I hope we know the answer!

June 16, 2008 at 2:23 pm
(24) Big Dave says:

I guess it depends on where you live in California whether you see H2′s and other behemoth SUV’s on the road. In Valencia, I see them all the time, usually with chrome 22″ rims you would never take in the dirt and being driven like gas was still $1.50 a gallon. I also see a lot of Sububans, Tahoes, Excursions and Expeditions, not to mention wildly lifted 4X4 crew cab trucks that can’t be getting better than 8 mpg. These guys are usually blowing all the lesser traffic off the road and slamming the gas away from stop lights. Conspicuous consumption is alive and well at $4.60 per gallon.

June 16, 2008 at 4:20 pm
(25) Tom says:

Make the thing a plug in hybrid, and keep right on selling. Now to a whole new market. Or better yet, use all that space lost to the hump between the driver and passenger to hide a mega lithium ion battery pack and go all electric with a back up generator as an option. I mean come on these things had about a 150 mile range anyway. This would not be hard to acheive in all electric. And no one was racing them so they shouldnt overly use the energy and the suspension is heavy enough to support significant battery weight.
Just put a 100 hp electric motor at each wheel, and give the thing a 100 mile range, sell em for about $75K, and put security at the door of the dealerships to calm down every one clamoring to buy one. This is a small sector vehicle and the perfect platform for GM to play with a few of these ideas. Also the buyers will be much more tollerant of new technology.

June 20, 2008 at 2:14 am
(26) hawaiian don says:

Hey Porter, maybe those Hummers you see in St Louis may finally have a truly useful purpose…that is if the levies break…maybe they might be able to evacuate unfortunate flood refugees who don’t have transportation. Unfortunately, most of the Hummer owners I’ve met would be the first ones to get their flashy behemoths out of town so they don’t dare muddy their 24′s and probably leave tire tracks on the roofs of Minis while trying to do so!!!

July 21, 2008 at 6:39 pm
(27) ncnative says:

Its amazing at the comments here. Lets set the record straight. If you drive like you have sense the H2 will get 14.5 city/county driving and 16 mpg on the highway. This is better than alot of other suvs and a little less than most…18-20 mpg. At 12,000 miles a year thats a difference of 200 gallons a year. Your not talking about 20 % difference in most suvs,and maybe 25% difference in most cars. The liberals spewing hogwash are the ones driving up gas prices not suvs. Crude Oil is a rotting technology that in 50 to 100 yrs will be irrelivant while we have 300 yrs of oil under us now.Gas prices are high due to two things, lack of refinerys expanding and usa not drilling our on.

August 24, 2008 at 11:32 pm
(28) Laurie says:

Yesterday my daughter and I were driving into San Francisco from North Bay and we realized neither of us has seen a Hummer in a year or two?!! Where did they all go?? We came up with the idea that they are maybe all sold by the money-to-burn suburbanities and maybe they have pooled in communities where they are still considered “cool” and can be gotten now for cheap… but who? New pimp-mobiles? Gang transit? Where?? They can’t just dissolve away.
Our area used to be FULL of them always passing you by, in parking lots and driveways. Now, not a one. They must be somewhere… but, seriously, WHERE?
Odd. I did see a pinto the other day tho…

February 18, 2009 at 11:21 pm
(29) Bill.d.Cat says:

What will the jerks tailgating and passing down the left hand turn lane do without the Hummer? They’re so safe they can do anything – even if it endangers everyone around them. And look out! With those new highbeams (on all the time) you’d better get out of the way as they have right of way over everyone – including police cars!
With the Hummer gone, what will the jerks drive now? Oh right – Tahoe, Explorer, BMW (look out for them idiots) Mercedes (really look out for them idiots, especially if you have an accident. Police will assume you’re at fault because the owner of the Mercedes is rich, and you in your Toyota won’t bribe him enough)

December 9, 2009 at 4:52 pm
(30) Paul Cross says:

http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2009/1/28/1233143619754/Gallery-Gas-guzzlers-Pari-006.jpg I wish I was as rich as Paris Hilton. I think that H2 Hummers are awsome. I really don’t worry about how much gas a car wastes.

February 26, 2010 at 11:31 pm
(31) suefa says:

Yes hooray for ncnative. My H3 does not take anymore
gas than most large Suv’s . . I need a large car for my
business and to feel safe driving in Los Angeles. I drive
carefully. There is very little difference in the H3 size and a large SUV – also if you have ever lost a child in a small car
accident you will think twice about safety. I am not rich but
the price of gas does not bother me. . If I had to buy another large SUV I would not be saving much. I LOVE
THE H3 – BEST CAR I HAVE EVER HAD. .

May 19, 2010 at 2:05 pm
(32) Steve says:

I agree with he comments about the H2. But…

Try driving an H3 offroad. Don’t speak of what you don’t know…

I’ve had 3 Jeeps, an Xterra, and a Blazer. The H3 (with Adventure offroad package) leaves them all in the shade for offroad driving—AND stret driving, including gas mileage.

The H3 gets better street mileage than ANY other SUV I’ve owned (remember, the stock H3 engine is a 5-cylinder 3.7). I get 18 in town, 22 on the highway. All my other SUVs got 15, 16mph, no more (all the Jeeps had the 6-cylinder 4.0). And it’s worlds safer than any of the other SUVs I’ve owned.

Fact is, once I can no longer get another H3, there’s nothing available that will allow me to even GO to some of the aggressive offroad places we enjoy now. When they said “like nothing else”, they meant it.

Oh and by the way, the H3 LOOKS big and hulking…but it’s an illusion. It’s actually 2 inches shorter than a Honda Pilot!

So before you buy into or perpetuate a Hummer stereotype, learn something about them…at least the H3. Your ignorance is showing to those of us who know. Looks a lot like sour grapes…

June 2, 2010 at 5:33 am
(33) Gry Online says:

I just sent this post to a bunch of my friends as I agree with most of what you’re saying here and the way you’ve presented it is awesome.

March 21, 2011 at 7:39 pm
(34) Michael says:

When will people wake up and realise that gas prices aren’t going to change people’s driving habits, at least not very quickly? Here in the UK petrol (gas) is currently $9.92 a gallon. We haven’t had it less than $4 a gallon since the 80s, but that hasn’t stopped Brits driving SUVs (1 in 14 vehicles in the country). Granted, you see more CR-Vs, X5s and Range Rovers here than Hummers and Escalades, but the fact is that the wealthy can, and will, pay for high fuel consumption to drive the vehicles they want.

July 14, 2012 at 9:56 pm
(35) daniel says:

I own a hummer H2 and its a veryy good car its very safe for the drivers and passangers it has onstar imputed in the car which is really good for accidents – hummers do waste a lot of gas but thats if you use it a lot just like anyother car- my hummer is out most of the time just like anyother car – i just dont take it out alot cause of gas prices just like some people with a toyota – nothing different — dont hate on hummers they save our troops – if you didnt know they use them cause they r safe and good dont hate.

December 19, 2012 at 10:34 pm
(36) Ed Steele says:

I drive my 2003 Hummer H2 every single day to work. It is in mint condition> I plan on keeping it forever. In fact I plan on buying a H1 to keep it company.

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