Used car market analysts in Canada performed a double take on their research earlier this year when they found the Hummer H2 had retained 71 percent of its original value, more than any other car included in the study. From this you could conclude the market is yearning for Hummer’s revival, and according to Automotive News, they aren’t the only ones who want to see their products back in showrooms.
Joe Serra, owner of the Serra Automotive group of dealerships, says he lost about 1,000 customers a year when General Motors phased out Hummer. He was able to draw a portion of them back by purchasing a Jeep dealership, which offers a rugged image similar to the H2’s or H3’s, but some GM dealers still feel a bit left in the dark.
Serra says Jeep “has it going on right now,” because they fill a niche in the market. The brand has more than doubled its sales since 2009 and has already broken its all-time sales record so far this year. GMC chief Duncan Aldred recently expressed interest in an “active all-road, Wrangler-esque type of vehicle” to compete with Jeep, which could fill the space that Hummer left.
Hummer was axed in 2008, when oil prices were at an all-time high and then GM CEO Rick Wagoner predicted they’d never go back down. Some felt Hummer represented American excess, and it was also GM’s least profitable truck line. Analysts say it would have taken a “sizable investment” to keep Hummer afloat, which would have been a major gamble six years ago.
Now, Chevrolet is the top brand for migrating Hummer owners, according to IHS data, with other owners buying Ford, Toyota, GMC and Cadillac offerings. John Bergstrom, who formerly owned four Hummer dealerships, says GM could retain more orphaned Hummer owners by offering an outdoor-minded SUV with more refinement than a Wrangler, but more capability than a standard crossover SUV.
“I don’t think I’d try to refloat the Hummer name — it could be a Chevrolet or a GMC — but you need a vehicle for that niche,” Bergstrom said. “GM has this built-in knowledge base from what they learned from Hummer. They know that market.”
GM doesn’t regret putting Hummer to rest, especially when you take into account the strength of its current truck and SUV lineup. However that doesn’t mean it should abandon the distinctly American off-road market, which Jeep has been left to occupy almost all on its own.