Hooniverse Asks: Why is the Hummer EV a GMC?

The Hummer brand used to be a symbol of belligerence. Ask a random passerby on the street what they think upon hearing “Hummer,” and they probably won’t use words such as “small” or “subtle.” Or “cool.”

Presumably realizing this, GM killed the Hummer brand about a decade ago, and thus had no marque to sell brawny, macho brodozers. For a while, GM had no brand they could pitch as cool and aggressive. And with the revival of the Hummer name, they still don’t.

The Hummer EV is equally stupid and awesome. It’s a convertible electric off-road pickup truck that will outrun an Enzo to 60 and go sideways through off-road trails off limits to a Rubicon. Theoretically. What it isn’t, though, is a Hummer.

Inexplicably, General Motors is branding this new vehicle the GMC Hummer EV. Which means Hummer is no longer the make, but the model. So the $100,000+ Hummer EV will sit at the top of the GMC model range, serving as sort of a halo car.

Except GMC already has a halo car, and a well-established one at that: the Denali. The Denali is sort of GMC’s thing, and carries similar cache to the Escalade name. Now Denali will play sidekick to the even halo-ier Hummer EV.

Another point to consider is by the time GM killed the Hummer brand, Hummer was well on its way to becoming deeply, profoundly uncool. Hummers were known as obnoxiously large and horribly inefficient barges for guys who yell at the TV in the Applebee’s bar in between belches. And GM has an opportunity to kick that reputation.

First off, Hummer is a cool name for an electric car brand. It just is. It suits the character of electric cars so well. More importantly, though, electric cars are cool right now for the same reason Hummers aren’t. So GM not only had an opportunity to capitalize on brand recognition, but to make the brand actually cool again. Why on earth would they not do this?

Instead, the Hummer EV is a model in GMC’s lineup. So, once it actually exists, you can go test drive it after walking by last year’s leftover Terrains at the dealer. Perhaps Chevy will make a Saturn EV too, which actually sounds like a better idea. Especially if it has those suicide doors.

About Ryan Lowe

Car fanatic located in Huntington Beach. I have a propensity to make fun of vehicles. I also play the drums and like clothes.

6 Comments

  1. What other dealer would they sell them in? It’s a bone for all the floundering Buick-Pontiac-GMC dealers that are probably starving for new product.

  2. I don’t really see Hummer and Denali stepping on each others’ toes, as they’re probably more likely diverging branches. In Jeep terms, you’d be talking Rubicon or versus Overland (and they’ve still got Trackhawk), that there’s the luxury branch and the offroady branch.

  3. I’m guessing there’s considerably more red tape in creating a brand than there is in introducing a model. Besides, the trend has been to reduce the number of brands under the GM umbrella, not increase them.

  4. GM is looking to fill a niche within a niche within a niche: The customer wants an EV that is not a Tesla, wants a pickup truck EV, and has to have the biggest baddest EV truck on the market. Making it a GMC adds to its “truckiness” credentials, which would be alternately weakened by calling it a Chevy, Buick, or Cadillac.

    I expect decent first year sales, and then a decline as everybody who wants one will already own one.

    1. I’m friends or family with several people who would love to buy a brand new Hummer. I also have friends/family who would love to buy a 4WD pickup EV. There is absolutely no overlap between these groups. Their interests could not be more dissimilar.

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