They Love Humvee: An Expanding Family of Army Brats

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THE military Humvee was designed, engineered and built by AM General, which started selling the civilian version, called the Hummer, in 1992. After the company formed a joint venture with General Motors in December 1999, that original Hummer got a new name, H1.

While never cheap, prices of the H1 have been creeping higher. The four-door wagon now starts at $113,824. Only about 1,000 are sold each year.

The H2, developed by G.M. largely from existing truck components, starts at $48,800 (including a destination charge of $735) and can run up to $54,000 with an air suspension, heated leather seats and a sunroof. That doesn’t count 40 other accessories available throough dealers.

The H2 is a Hummer without the rattles and rumbles, but a buyer must be willing to make trade-offs. It has six inches less of ground clearance. It cannot make the same steep ascents as H1. And it can ford just 20 inches of water, compared with 30 for H1. These will probably be acceptable compromises, given that G.M. expects only 5 to 10 percent of H2 owners to do extreme off-roading.

The H1 will remain in the Hummer lineup, and some aspiring Arnold Schwarzeneggers will accept no substitute. It still offers all the off-road capability the Army can ask for.

With the H2, G.M. is offering a gentler Hummer for S.U.V. buyers who want some military mystique. But while the H2 will be within reach of more people, its pricetag hardly makes it a Hummer for everyone.

Market research shows that many young men — reared on video games, action movies and the macho posturing of professional wrestling and extreme sports — aspire to own Hummers. G.M. is considering other, less expensive models, and has already announced an addition to the new line for 2004: the H2 SUT, a sport utility truck with a passenger compartment plus a short pickup bed that can be expanded, like the Chevrolet Avalanche’s, by lowering a panel at the back of the cabin.

May 3, 2014 · Posted in Uncategorized  
    

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