Jun 8, 2008

RIP Hummer reprint of Financial Times Editorial 6-7-08

The Hummer brand, the semi-domesticated military jeep whose passing as a General Motors marque at the age of 16 is under consideration, was a Goliath of the road and a boon for motorists.

Born in 1992 in South Bend, IN, the Hummer was a civilian version of the Humvee troop transporter which made its debut during the US invasion of Panama in 1989 before making its name during the first Gulf war.

It was designed to be large enough to carry a troop of soldiers, rugged enough to cross beaches and deserts and tough enough to withstand small arms fire. It was only a matter of time before it found its true calling: transporting shopping and children around the suburbs.
Since then, the Hummer has never looked back. In fact, the Hummer drivers never used their mirrors at all.

Its principal technical innovation(being much too big) meant the novice, inexperienced or sleeping Hummer driver could coast along safe int he knowledge that braking, indicating, turning and observing traffic lights could be left to other drivers. Faced with the choice between driving in the left, right, or centre lane. the Hummer offered the indecisive motorist the option of driving in all of them.

It took something special to build a car that could be 16ft long and 7ft wide yet made reviewers complain about lack of space. It took marketing flair to sell a car wider than the average American car lane. And it took real creativity to sell a four tonne tractor as a fashion statement. Part fo its success as an accessory was that it actually conveyed two statements("Get out of my way" and "I'm looking for a gas station")

Although its too early to know what impact the Hummer will have on the future of car design, it is certain Hummers have left their marks on cars all around the world.
The Hummer is survived by one governor of California and not many pedestrians. No flowers, please. Donations, if desired, to the General Motors pension fund.

1 comment:

  1. Conservastore says:
    Americans thankfully are being forced to change their lifestyles. Sadly we must all pray for hi gas prices to continue--if they fall back to $2/gallon then the Hummer et al will be resurrected instead of the promotion of gas/electric, E85, total electric, and hydrogen auto transportation which we all badly need.