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Is GM bringing Hummer back?

Rumor has it that General Motors is reviving the Hummer nameplate.

Photo by Getty Images

The electric pickup truck wars appear to be getting reinforcements. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that General Motors will revive the Hummer name and use it to launch new, all-electric pickup truck and SUV models under the GMC brand in 2022.

When AutomotiveMap reached out to GMC for comment, however, a spokesperson said, "The WSJ story is speculation and we don't have anything to confirm or comment on."

Hummer GM All-Car Showdown A Hummer is driven at the Annual Rollin' 24 Deep: GM All-Car Showdown held at Paramount Pictures on July 12, 2005 in Hollywood, California. Photo by Getty Images

Early in 2019, it appeared GM would be moving into this space with help from EV startup, Rivian. That deal fell through in February, however, and Rivian subsequently formed a partnership with GM's crosstown rival Ford. Ford is moving forward with an electric F-150 and Tesla reportedly received over 200,000 deposits for its Cybertruck just days after its unveiling. So it's no surprise that GM would build an electric pickup truck. What is surprising is the use of the Hummer name.

In the early 2000s, Hummer was the darling GM, selling over 250,000 high-priced, high-margin SUVs from 2002 through 2007. But, when gas prices spiked and the housing bubble burst sending the stock market tumbling, Hummer's sales followed suit. Just two years later GM sold fewer than 4,000 Hummers and pulled the plug on the brand.

The original Hummer H1 was a civilian version of the military-spec M998 Humvee, produced by AM General. Its very first customer was Arnold Schwartzenegger, who purchased two. GM expanded the line to include the H2, a full-size SUV built on its heavy-duty truck platform, and H3, basically a re-skinned and re-badged Chevy Tahoe.

H3T Hummer Truck A Hummer H3T truck is displayed prior to the start of the 2004 Greater LA Auto Show at the Los Angeles Convention Center December 30, 2003 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Getty Images

Rumors of a new Hummer have been around since 2018, but only gained traction in November of 2019 after the GM/UAW strike ended. In the settlement GM committed to keeping its Hamtramck, Michigan assembly plant open to build electric trucks for Cadillac, Chevy, GMC, and a mysterious "M-brand."

If ever there were a time to bring back the Hummer re-imagined as a high-end electric vehicle, this is it. Sales of luxury SUVs and trucks are at an all-time high as premium manufacturers flock to the segment. You can now get highly capable, high dollar SUVs BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Land Rover, Lexus, and even Bentley and Rolls-Royce. Mainstream manufacturers like Jeep, Hyundai, Ford, and Ram are expanding the availability of luxury features like heated and ventilated leather seats with contrast stitching, premium audio systems, and digital cockpits into their pickup trucks and SUVs.

Some have questioned the wisdom of reviving a name that is known for gas-guzzling as a brand for an electric truck. In an editorial just last week, Detroit Free Press auto critic, Mark Phelan wrote, "Not to put too fine a point on it, but a lot of people hate Hummer. Particularly the educated, wealthy, early adopters GM would want to attract with a line of electric luxury SUVs."

Will GM revive the Hummer? If the Wall Street Journal is correct, we'll know for sure on Super Bowl Sunday. They're reporting that LeBron James will star in a commercial for the Hummer during the big game. AutomotiveMap be keeping our eyes on this one and have more news on the new all-electric Hummer as it develops.

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.