Sunday, March 3, 2013

Abu Dhabi Dispatches: How to get your 2013 Hummer (wait..what?)

Yes, the death of the Hummer brand is old news and was long overdue. But in the vein of Tom Cruise, when your public image goes bust, go back to what you do best: GI Joe. I kit you not.

At the International Defense Expo here in Abu Dhabi, the folks at AM General had their booth, and with it sat a perfectly recognizable 4 door Hummer pickup. The info pamphlet proclaimed the 2013 HUMVEE C-Series is available for the first time to the general public. �Just add your own powertrain and you are ready to roll.� So when Arnold gets tired of his Unimog, he can order a new Hummer. I would suggest a Duramax, but we all know he�ll go for the LSX option.

Like the shadowy �Max� from The Losers, the actual origins of the civilian Hummer are murky, hard to pinpoint and full of folklore. See, the original Hummer was a demilitarized version of the M998 Series High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicle, aka the HUMVEE, built and marketed by AM General. But the image associated with the Hummer in Gulf War I back in the early nineties prompted production of a version for the masses. AM General is a former arm of American Motors, and previous to that, Renault. In 1999 the GM Hummer, aka the H1, still designed and built by AM General, hit the market. There was also the H2 that was built under license by GM. The H3? Well AM General had nothing to do with that.

But those were the (hopefully) forgotten days of the sissy truck! Leather? SATNAV? OnStar? These have no place in an ��aircraft quality aluminum riveted body, exceptionally durable chassis, and a basic soft top structure that screams �Off Road Ready.�� The C (for Civilian) series, is still available for those who need the ��next Off-Road legend,� in order to safely arrive at JoS A. Bank in time for their next sale. The civilian market is actually still the only place left for the veritable M998. Because like it�s paternal grandfather, the General Purpose or �Jeep,� the world it was built for is no more.

The nature of modern urban warfare needs light, mobile, armored and (somewhat) mine resistant vehicles. Currently with US forces, this is being met by armored HUMVEES as they are phased out and the new MRAP variant Oshkosh M-ATV.

Like 24 Hour news, the military light truck market has gotten pretty crowded. Just a few of the available offerings on display at IDEX alone included; the previously mentioned Oshkosh, the Chinese Norinco CS/VA 1, the African made Paramount Marauder, the Spanish Vamtac Mi-3, even the crew at International makes a Special Operation Tactical Vehicle in conjunction with Navistar Defense. AM General itself has moved out of the military HUMVEE business with the construction of 22 prototypes of its Blast Resistant Vehicle – Off road (BRV-O) for the lucrative new DoD Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) contract.

They are clearly hoping there will be enough fragile egos and the insatiable need for �bro trucks� to provide AM General a market for the original Hummer. But if you need a Hummer and find even the C Series to be too little for your manly needs, also on display at IDEX is the MEV HUMMER HX™ T Limo, which according to their website is ��a vehicle, that the majority believe would have saved...� the GM Hummer brand. I will let you be the judge.

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