Is GM selling an off-road electric vehicle or a series of hats, shoes, and make-believe homes? In case you forgot, the last time the HUMMER brand went extinct, it was because GM focused on the luxury lifestyle associated with the customers they wanted to associate with and ignored the rugged off-road street cred the HUMMER brand had earned. Today, they’re making the same mistake.
In 2009 the world said goodbye to the HUMMER brand for the first time. The H2 and H3 had made a big splash in the market but didn’t really live up to the expectations of a rugged off-road-focused life that the brand truly stood for. Instead, GM poured tons of money into associating the H2 with celebrities and the rich. They also ignored fuel economy, and before long, the brand fell out of style. Sales fell off a cliff so quickly that the 2009 model year was cut in half by GM. A special edition “going away” model of the H2 that was announced, the Black Chrome, never was actually produced.
The H3, sold from 2005-2009, did better but not by much. GM-Trucks.com actually had a 2005 H3 in our test fleet for around two years before selling it. Based on the Colorado and Canyon, the H3 looked great but, again, sucked down a tank of fuel faster than an alcoholic could destroy a 30 rack of beer. Being build on top of a pickup truck chassis, the off-road specs were nothing like the Jeep Wrangler, and marketing for the vehicle skewed towards the affluent and rich, not the off-roading enthusiast. In the end, it wasn’t that people didn’t like HUMMER; they just didn’t like vehicles that were all talk and no walk. A problem any brand has.
So, enter 2021. The HUMMER is back. It’s electric. It’s also a GMC now, for some reason. What turned out to be the biggest flaw of HUMMER’s previous generation and what the brand became known for, gas-guzzling, environment destroying mega-vehicles for the rich, is being somewhat mitigated. No-one can bash an all-electric vehicle for using too much fuel, right?
But the cost is still outrageous. Whereas the HUMMER H2 sold in the $60k price range, the new GMC HUMMER EV Truck Edition 1 will sit around the $112k mark. Nearly double. And while future HUMMER EV trucks will sell for less, we admit we can’t be too upset that bleeding-edge technology isn’t usually cheap. You want the newest gizmo right when it comes out? You always pay dearly for it. Ok fine. We relent. It’s ok the HUMMER EV will be expensive.
However, where we start to take umbrage is that GM is making the biggest mistake of the past generation of HUMMER all over again. Marketing to an obscure, hyper-rich group of people who could care less what car they buy- just as long as they look good in it.
With the GMC HUMMER EV still months away, GMC is spending a HUGE amount of communications effort trying to associate “GMC HUMMER EV = stylish, hip, fashion-forward.” It’s stupid. It’s dumb. It’s a waste of time.
If you take a moment to read the room (looking at HUMMER forums, Facebook groups, and the like), It turns out, a lot of the people who hold reservations for the HUMMER EV are like us. People who actually want to buy the HUMMER EV for how well it will do off-road. People who also like bleeding-edge tech and can’t wait to try out something revolutionary and new. People who are automotive enthusiasts and technophiles at heart.
NOT people who want to learn about a stupid pair of shoes that someone designed after looking at a HUMMER EV for a few minutes. (And $300+ shoes at that- which no longer appear on the designer’s website)
We also certainly don’t care that some designer walked around the HUMMER EV and created a hat. Or that someone looked at a HUMMER EV and designed a “virtual base” that could never actually be built. I mean, what in the ever-living heck? Who watches the three videos embedded above and identifies with that?
This kind of stuff is DESTROYING all of the enthusiasm I once had about the HUMMER EV. To be honest, I’m getting worried. (yeah, I know I get worried a lot) GM is making all the same mistakes they did over 15 years ago when they launched the HUMMER brand for the first time- and killed it for the first time.
Do you see anything about the actual capability of the HUMMER EV in these marketing videos? Not a single mention.
Instead, we hear of “creativity” and “inspiration”- fluff words to hide the fact that the HUMMER EV just might be one of the biggest disappointments of 2021.
Moreso, if you don’t know, we’re actually buying a GMC HUMMER EV Edition 1! So we speak from the perspective of someone who really wants a HUMMER EV and is/was excited about it.
Sure, we understand that GMC is trying to appeal to those who can drop over $100k on a truck with the price tag. Maybe, however, the entire launch is flawed. Maybe a cheaper, more affordable, and off-road capable HUMMER would have been a better start.
Unfortunately, the marketing for the 2021 GMC HUMMER EV gives the impression that it’s just a ritzy, dumbed-down, fantasy electric “stock boosting-vehicle.”
Today, that’s exactly what the GMC HUMMER EV looks like. A quick play to boost GM’s stock price, make the company sound more “hip” and “woke”. It is most certainly not a way to build a capable, tech-enthusiast-focused, off-road machine that can eat Jeeps for lunch and Land Rovers for dinner.