New Model News

General Motors deciding to make a new Hummer pickup is actually on-trend

Hummer H2s sit on the lot of Weil Hummer May 17, 2004 in Libertyville, Illinois.

Photo by Getty Images

General Motors's Hummer brand was ahead of its time. While originally based on a military vehicle, the brand expanded to offer a few different large, chunky, gas-guzzling SUVs before the SUV craze really started to hit. Factor in the GM bankruptcy and you have a recipe for a failed project.

But the Hummer brand itself apparently isn't dead. According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, General Motors will be resurrecting the name for an upcoming electric pickup truck. That's right, an electric pickup. In addition to the name coming back, the company is allegedly buying a spot during the Super Bowl and recruiting LeBron James to help sell it.

Chevrolet Buick GMC Rogers dealership sign A sign marks the location of a GM dealership on July 23, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. Photo by Getty Images

Additionally, the article claims that the truck will be sold at GMC dealerships. AutomotiveMap reached out to GMC for comment, and as expected on speculative news like this, the company did not confirm nor deny the report.

General Motors CEO Mary Barra has committed to an electric vehicle (EV) future for the company's products and there have long been rumors that the first one would be a GMC pickup. This news fits into that mold.

Electric pickup trucks are coming sooner rather than later, it seems. Ford has committed to the F-150 being the platform for their EV pickup (and even have a video of a prototype towing a locomotive). Rivian – a startup with $500 million in Ford investment and equal that from Amazon – has both an electric pickup and an electric SUV coming. Another startup, Bollinger, is slated to build EV trucks and SUVs in Detroit. Tesla's CEO Elon Musk announced the Cybertruck recently.

Tesla Cybertruck Tesla recently debuted its all-electric Cybertruck.Photo courtesy of Tesla

An electric pickup truck likely won't be cheap. While we believe Ford is set to mass-market the electric F-150, the other trucks coming are likely going to have a premium price. This helps amortize out the cheaper products in the future, shifting the development cost onto buyers who aren't as price sensitive as the general buying public.

The first Hummer, the H1, was not cheap. People recognize Hummer as a premium nameplate. It makes absolute sense that an expensive EV pickup would have a premium badge, which is why the idea of it being a GMC made more sense than a Chevrolet. A Hummer sold at a GMC dealership? Jackpot.

Also, buyers are now purchasing pickups of all different prices. A new half-ton truck can quickly crest the $70,000 MSRP mark. A new heavy duty or Super Duty truck can easily pass $90,000. Buyers are no longer hesitant to shell out big money for pickups like they used to do on sedans.

Ford Super Duty Ford's Super Duty trucks can easily reach $90,000.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

A Hummer pickup also lets GM continue their development of the EV technology that will eventually make its into their mass-market brands. It allows the company to charge more now and sell based on the hype of the nameplate as well as the fancy new technology. The product will attract EV fans and Hummer fans.

The real question is, "Will it look ridiculous?" Tesla's Cybertruck is the only electric pickup coming that looks significantly different from the 3-box pickup truck design we're all used to. While it's unlikely that the Hummer will be as extreme, it gives GM designers an opportunity to let loose in a way they wouldn't normally be able to. Hummers have always been ridiculous. There's no reason to change now.

Stay tuned because this segment is about to get really interesting.

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Research and development

Ford names site for battery development facility

Ford's new facility will house battery research and development.

Ford

Ford is in the news again for its electrification efforts, this time with the confirmation of a Michigan location for a new battery research and development facility in Romulus, Michigan. The facility may eventually help Ford in-source much of its EV supply chain, a shift that could prevent or mitigate the challenges presented by parts and technology shortages.

As part of its electrification initiative, the automaker plans to build a new research and development facility, called Ford Ion Park. The facility will house new tech research, pilot programs for new manufacturing techniques, and will help give Ford more control over its supply chain.


Ford Ion Park Once complete, the facility will initially house 200 engineers.Ford


The price tag for the new facility and related efforts lands at $185 million, which sounds like chump change for a global automaker until we consider that Ford has committed $30 billion to electrification by 2025. The automaker says that its new facility renews its dedication to Michigan as its home base for EV development, a promise it originally made back in 2010. The company's new electric F-150 Lightning pickup truck will be built in Dearborn, which will add 500 jobs. An additional 225 jobs will be retained at Ford's Dyke Electric Powertrain Center.

As part of Phase One of the project, Ford plans to hire 200 engineers within 18 months of the 270,000-square-foot facility's opening. Ironically, the site was previously owned by A123 Systems, a battery manufacturer that closed the facility in 2017 due to low demand for batteries.


Ford Ion Park Ford has committed $185 million to the new facility and related efforts.Ford

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Discontinued sedan

Volkswagen nixing Passat after 2022 model year

Racing Green Metallic is one of four exclusive colors for the car.

Volkswagen

After five decades on sale in the U.S., Volkswagen is pulling the plug on the midsize Passat. The explosion of SUVs' popularity and the need to shift production power to electric vehicles are behind the decision, which will take place after the 2022 model year. The cars have been built at the automaker's Chattanooga, TN plant since 2011, but the facility is being repurposed as VW's North American hub for electric vehicle assembly.

Volkswagen is giving the car one last hurrah, however, in the form of the Passat Limited Edition. The car features 18-inch wheels, LED headlights with an Advanced Front Lighting System, and an easy-open trunk. Inside, the cars come with sport seats wrapped in Vienna leather, memory seating, a Fender Premium Audio System, parking assistance, and parking sensors.


2022 Volkswagen Passat Limited Edition Each car gets a special model tag with its limited production number.Volkswagen


Only 1,973 of the cars will be built, and it will only be sold in four colors, each with its own limited production numbers that have special meaning for the Passat:

  • Aurora Red Metallic with Titan Black interior: 411 units to represent the original vehicle production code
  • Racing Green Metallic with Mauro Brown interior: 423 units to commemorate the Chattanooga 423 area code
  • Pure white with Mauro Brown interior: 524 units to signify the Chattanooga plant's May 24 opening date
  • Platinum Great Metallic with Titan Black interior: 615 units to signify six generations of imported Passats, one generation assembled in Chattanooga, and five decades of U.S. sales

Pricing for the 2022 Passat starts at $31,290, which includes a $995 destination fee. Adding Aurora Red Metallic drives the price up by an additional $395. Each car will receive a special number plate to designate its place in the limited production run.


2022 Volkswagen Passat Limited Edition The Passat Limited Edition gets several upscale features. Volkswagen

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