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.

Kia Motors has given insight into the company's future product plans.

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Kia is charging ahead with an aggressive electric vehicle (EV) implementation plan that includes 11 new vehicles in the next five years. The strategy, called "Plan S" starts with the company's first dedicated EV in 2021.

Plan S is a dual-focus shift for the company. On one side they will be progressing toward an EV-centric product strategy while in the other hand Kia will be focusing on customized mobility solutions. They will also be focusing on autonomous vehicle development.

By the end of 2025, Kia plans to offer a full line-up of 11 battery electric vehicles. The company is aiming to have 25 percent of its vehicle sales outside of China come from what they call "eco-friendly cars" by 2025 on their way to achieving a 6.6 percent market share in the global EV market (500,000 annual EV sales excluding China). According to a McKinsey & Co. analysis published April, the U.S. EV market almost doubled to 360,000 EV units in 2018, mainly because of the strong sales performance of Tesla's Model 3.

From 2022, Kia plans to add EVs in the passenger vehicles, SUVs, and MPVs categories. They further outlined their electric vehicle development:

The dedicated EV model to be launched 2021 will be built on a unique platform specifically engineered to accommodate the car's world-leading EV powertrain and technologies. It will offer a crossover design which blurs the boundaries between passenger and sport utility vehicles, a future-oriented user experience, a single-charge driving range of over 500 kilometers, and sub-20-minute high-speed charging time.

Across its EV line-up, Kia plans to operate two different types of EVs with different charging capabilities (400V/800V) -- high-performance dedicated models and derivative models with reasonable pricing -- to meet the diverse needs of customers.

Growth in global EV sales will be pursued in accordance with a customized, market-oriented strategy, which considers regional differences in environmental regulation, subsidies, infrastructure and more.

These EVs are expected to first be sold as a trim level option in Kia vehicles in the same vein as the Niro EV and Soul EV.

Additional Kia expansion is planned to come from car-sharing and e-commerce businesses.

"Plan S is a bold and enterprising roadmap for Kia's future business transition, buttressed by the two pillars of electric vehicles and mobility solutions," said Han-woo Park, president and CEO, Kia Motors. "Our approach is to put customers first, and Kia will reinvigorate its brand innovation by developing products and services that offer new experiences for customers."

Easily missed in this plan is Kia's proposition to raise the sales of internal combustion engined vehicles while at the same time establish the development system for EV architecture. Though they say that they'll focus those efforts on emerging markets, it's relatively safe to say that the Soul, Forte, and Telluride aren't going away any time soon.

Kia is activating recent partnerships and company share acquitions to get to this goal. Last year, the Korean automaker invested in Croatian performance EV manufacturer Rimac Automobili and IONITY, which specializes in building high-speed charging infrastructures.

They're also planning on building "Mobility Hubs", transfer stations between electric vehicles and internal combustion engine vehicles. Long term plans call for self-driving robotaxis and on-demand roboshuttles to also populate these Mobility Hubs.

Kia is part of a car-sharing services joint venture with Repsol, Spain's major energy corporation, in Madrid via its WiBLE brand.