Remember Hummers? The civilian version of military Humvee’s, but if you have been around long enough you remember those monsters right? Those massive gas guzzlers that were supposed to be both the militaries and civilians update of the old Jeeps and the status symbol of the day?
I remember a day when those things were the talk of everyone’s lips. Those things were all over the news, and it seemed like they’d never go away. Then POOF there they are gone! Looking back, these things seem more like a joke that held on longer than the show itself. The “Did I do That?” for a new age. Of course, those monsters actually did happen and that may be the scarier commentary to make.
For a quick history lesson, these bad boys were first designed back in 1982 for the military by AMC. Not exactly a name in safety but people didn’t care. It was an update for the old jeeps and that was all we cared for. Those were kicking around too, but by the 80’s the novelty was wearing off.
The new vehicle was bigger, held 4 to 6 people comfortably, and could be designed for all kinds of nature or person it faced. Outside the military though, people didn’t know a lot about them until 1992 when they were first put up for sale to the general public. However, to sell these monsters to the masses, it was well touted that the first person outside the military to own one was Arnold Schwarzenegger. America’s top action hero of the time was trotted out to sell these things. And it worked.
Those are the kind of people that didn’t mind that the gas for it costs you an arm and a leg in a week, or was more fit as oversized moving violations, but many times those types of people wouldn’t actually be caught driving and didn’t care. People bought them.
The marketing geniuses came out and for the 10-year anniversary, The H2 arrived! They were smaller and supposedly friendlier than the originals. In reality, they were still bigger and unsafe family trucks with converted backends. People weren’t told these things though. These were military vehicles, but smaller and meant for your family. They would save your lives! They’d still cost you an arm and a leg at the pump and would probably kill most of your neighbors too. But regardless these started showing up since it was being marketed for the family instead of the previous version.
We thought they were all that until 2006 came along to market something else. The H3! An even SMALLER road safe tank with all the shouting of its predecessors, but none of the features. They could still save your life! These were not safer vehicles and cost way more than should have been paid. Marketing is wonderful, isn’t it?
I’m not a California man, I’m not even the West coast and I think in my life I saw maybe one of each. I never saw these things around on the road and I’m pretty sure when I saw an H3 in real life I laughed.
So what happened? Marketing and economics.
We were all convinced these were the next big thing, but even back in 1992 Americans weren’t THAT ready for them. The later models were more laughing stocks than anything. Not the status symbols or the safety alternative everyone was told. More like the Canyoneros of the Simpsons and the Maibatsu Monstrosity from Grand Theft Auto games.
When investing, banks, and housing going downhill General Motors ended the Hummers in 2010 after a failed deal. Demand was down and after 20 years the novelty wore off. With cars, businesses, and even TV Networks feeling the crunch, people realized we all had bigger thing to worry about.
Nowadays there is barely a mention. Sure there is some talk of bringing an “energy efficient” version back but it’s not nearly as widespread and it will take a lot of explaining to figure out how a battery on a truck is going to make things easier. They were a fad for the status-conscious, but for the normal people, it was just a thing and its time has ended. Whether it was for the better or not, I’m glad to see them gone.