When General Motors ditched Hummer, during the financial crisis and recession of the late 2000s, it was obviously a good decision: times were tight, gas prices were high, people weren’t buying big vehicles and Hummer was an excess expense that most people simply weren’t choosing any longer. Hummer was sent to the chopping block, and it made sense — it was no longer desirable.
That was then, and this is now. Roughly 10 years later, SUVs and trucks are back with a vengeance, and it’s almost amazing how well SUVs — and especially off-road-oriented SUVs — are selling. The Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro is selling for above its sticker price in many markets, and the 4Runner in general is enjoying its best-ever sales years. The Ford F-150 Raptor is selling in huge numbers, and the pickup’s resale value is strong. The latest Jeep Wrangler is breaking sales records, and they’re rolling out a pickup version. The Ford Bronco is coming back. The Land Rover Defender is coming back. The Mercedes G-Wagen has been redesigned to capitalize on this newfound love of off-roady SUVs. It’s seemingly endless.
And yet, General Motors is largely missing out. By killing off Hummer a decade ago, General Motors killed off its closest competitor to Jeep — and its best chance at competing in a world that’s increasingly becoming obsessed with off-roader SUVs. It made sense at the time, but Hummer would be enjoying massive success now: the H3 would be a great rival to the 4Runner, while the H3T was the Jeep Gladiator before the Jeep Gladiator. And the original H1 could’ve been updated to be a true competitor to the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen — it certainly had the name recognition and off-roader prowess.
Unfortunately, Hummer is gone, so this won’t be happening — and by the time everything is tooled back up to re-launch Hummer, the SUV fad may be over. But it’s a shame Hummer is gone, because it really would be the perfect brand in today’s market.