The Hummer H3
Updated April 19, 2016
GM Investing $250 Million To Build Hummer H3
Reuters October 28, 2004 By Michael Ellis
DETROIT - General Motors Corp. said on Wednesday it will invest $250 million in its Shreveport, Louisiana, vehicle assembly plant to build the new Hummer H3 mid-size sport utility vehicle, GM's latest step to expand the Hummer brand.
The plant expansion will add more than 300 jobs to the 3,200 working at the plant, where the world's largest automaker also builds the Chevrolet Colorado and the GMC Canyon mid-size pickup trucks.
A spokesman said that GM has already made most of the $250 million investment at the plant in tooling and additional floor space to build the mid-size H3.
GM is to get a 10-year break on property taxes on the plant addition, a new rail spur and a sales-tax exemption on related equipment as part of the agreement, according to a Louisiana state economic development official. GM has not asked for any municipal bonds to be issued, the official said.
GM unveiled the smaller companion vehicle to the massive Hummer H2 at the California auto show in Anaheim on Wednesday.
The H3 will go on sale in the second quarter next year and will be the Hummer brand's largest seller, GM executives said.
The H3 will be about 16 inches shorter and weigh about 1,700 pounds lighter than the H2, which has been derided by environmentalists because of its poor fuel economy. "The H3 will deliver much improved fuel economy, which mid-sized utility customers have come to expect," Hummer General Manager Susan Docherty said at the auto show.
The H3 will get about 20 miles per gallon on the highway and about 16 miles per gallon in the city, comparable to other similarly-sized SUV's. The H2 averages about 12 miles a gallon.
Still, the environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council said GM is missing out on the growing market for hybrid gasoline-electric vehicles, which burn less gas.
"Sure, some people will buy this truck," said Roland Hwang, chief motor vehicle analyst at NRDC. "The question is whether and how long GM can stay afloat while ignoring the new market reality of growing oil dependence and rising pump prices."
Average gasoline prices have topped $2 a gallon across the country, but GM officials said that the spike still hasn't caused a noticeable shift in sales, and SUV's continue to sell well. H2 sales are down about 20 percent so far this year, however.
"This (Hummer) brand isn't for everyone, which quite frankly, is one of its strengths," Gary Cowger, president of GM North America, said at the auto show in Anaheim.
My father in law is a purchasing agent for our local Chevy/Hummer dealership. The 5-speed is available but the dealership doesn't like to stock them for 2 reasons.
One is they like to make it simple and order all the same thing. Plus they find that most people want to buy an automatic even though the standard is rated and recommended by Hummer for off road use. Maybe because most who buy the H3 are buying it for the look or status rather then the function.
The second and most true reason is the resale value on a hummer H3 or any vehicle for that matter is always lower if it has a standard. So lets say you do a smart buy and in 3 years you exchange the current standard Hummer that you have for a newer one. Well now the dealership is stuck with trying to sell a vehicle that right off the top has a value decrease because its a standard. They say its always easier to sell a used vehicle if it has an automatic.
But you can order one. Once a week each Hummer dealer can look online and see what they have allocated. Usually on a Tues. Then by that Thursday of the same week if given an allocation they can modify the vehicle or vehicles to meet what they want. Such as changing a automatic to a standard. Then once that vehicle hits production they receive an email saying so. It takes about 3-8 weeks to get one this way and usually has a 500 deposit. I know this because my wife took hers from the lot which happens to be an automatic and I had to order mine because I wanted a standard.
I have owned an H3 for about a week and 4 days. Upon taking the vehicle out to Furnace Creek, Death Valley CA, the vehicle encountered the expected elements: dirt, wind and water with an average daytime temperature of 85 degrees F.
After 3 days, blemishes and discoloration appeared on the black plastic surfaces. I am told that there may have been misapplications of the clear coat or errors in the overall production cycle (possibly attributed to Hurricane Katrina, which affected production in the Shreveport, LA plant?).
After driving an H3 this week for over 800 miles the following is what I got....
About 16mpg city
18.4mpg hwy at 75mph
19.5mpg hwy at 70mph
the vehicle was the 5 speed manual w/ off-road tires (bigger tires)
It does Fantastic off-road. There were two obstacle courses, one for the H3 and one for the Pathfinder, 4runner and Cherokee. As of yesterday the 3rd day of the class only the 4runner was still drivable, other 2 in a shop for under side repair. There was a pile of parts that had fallen off, broken off. We did moguls, rail road ties two high hill climb, "twist" good air on that one, V-ditch, rocks, uphill and down hill, steeper than the 60%, couple of 40% plus incline then rollers, all in the automatic. The road course still had the pathfinder and Cherokee.
Drove the 5 speed and that sucker will crawl slower than a snail when in low lock. No need to touch the gas till you need the torque. No locker on the 5 speed trucks I drove  but the traction kicks in nicely on the uphill and loose dirt. No creeks or groaning; it does just as well or better than the H2. It should be a lot of fun when it comes out. Center of rear seat is narrow for two adults, The power window control is a little awkward for the driver to use because it's located next to your side. It needs to be moved forward. The power seat control is hard to get to when the door is closed. The automatic trans is a little doggie on the street, but it was built for off road. I drove the Adventure series truck, 33 inch tires, no road noise.
I work for GM.... and on road the H3 was nice... it was about as tall as a 4x4 Suburban or Silverado... the front passenger space is very roomy and comfortable. I am 6'3 and had no problems when sitting in either front seat getting comfortable... the rear seats are comfortable, however, if you have tall people up front, they can get a bit scrunched in the rear... I would have to say the roominess is similar to a Trail Blazer. The seats are very comfortable, and the Instrument panel is much better than the standard "old" GM. The rear most door basically opens by itself as it has a hydraulic power assist and it isn't very hard to close, now, if the spare was not on the door, it might be a different story...
Fuel econ is about 20 mpg, with a 22 gal tank (of course depending on how you drive). It has a 3500 engine in it. I haven't done it, but I have been told several people have gotten about 400 miles on one tank.
The vehicle was very pleasant to drive on the freeway as well as around town. The turning radius was incredible, making it very easy to maneuver. As with a H1, there are blind spots in the truck, which one has to get used to. The noise level in the vehicle is good, its not at the level of the Buick LaCrosse, but its quieter than an H1 for sure. As with any vehicle, there is always room for improvement here. I wasn't really paying attention to the overall noise level, but nothing stood out to me either, so I would have to say that the noise level is as expected or maybe slightly better than expected.
All in all, I think that this vehicle will be a good seller. From what I saw, the execution of this vehicle com paired to the H2 during its launch is a LOT better. The fit and finish and over all execution is MUCH better than the first few H2s that I was in... Just like an H1, its like driving around in a fish bowl... and I put over 450 miles on it so far...
By DANNY HAKIM DETROIT, Oct. 26 --
The Hummer is rumbling down-market.
On Wednesday, General Motors will unveil a new Hummer that will be smaller, cheaper and less gas-hungry than its predecessors.
The new junior member of the Hummer family, to be called H3, is seen as critical to the survival of a brand that has been treading water this year, as the novelty of the two-year-old Hummer H2 has faded.
The H3 is to hit showrooms next spring, a date that could not come soon enough for GM's 167 Hummer dealers, who are facing a sales slump at the same time they are spending millions of dollars to fulfill GM's requirement that Hummers be sold in huge glass and steel Quonset huts. "The H3 makes that viable," said Jim Lynch, a Hummer dealer in the St. Louis area who is in the middle of building one of the new showrooms. He called the H3 an "extremely important" vehicle that gave Hummer dealers "the volume to really be a standalone franchise."
At a glance, H3 looks a lot like the Hummer H2, which has become an avatar of American swagger or sinfulness, depending upon whom you ask. But there are significant differences. The H3 is about 17 inches shorter than the H2 bumper to bumper, and about 6 inches less wide and tall. The H3 is expected to approach 20 miles per gallon in highway driving and get about 16 miles per gallon in the city, a GM official said. That is better than the roughly 12 miles per gallon that the H2 gets. But it is below the 22 miles per gallon on the highway and the 19 miles per gallon in the city for the average midsize sport utility vehicle, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Not that Hummer is going after the eco-conscious. "I don't want you to get the idea we're releasing the H3 to get to those people who think the H2 is not fuel efficient," said Susan Docherty, Hummer's new general manager. Rather, H3's lower price will bring the vehicle to a vastly larger market. The sport utility vehicle is expected to start from $30,000 to $40,000, compared with the H2, which starts at just under $50,000, and the H1, which starts around $100,000. GM envisions selling more H3 S.U.V.'s than the combined volume of both of its predecessors and hopes for sales of more than 40,000 Hummers next year, up from about 20,000 this year.
"It allows 20- and 30-somethings to get into the brand," Ms. Docherty said, adding, "what we found with the H2 is that there are a lot of customers that aspire to be in the brand, but it was out of people's reach."
Hummer sales are down 20 percent this year, through September, and the recent introduction of a pickup truck version of the H2, the Hummer H2 SUT, has not done much to help sales. Gm makes Hummer as a joint venture with AM General, a privately held company that also manufactures the military Humvee. Gm recently cut one of the two production shifts at AM General's Hummer plant near South Bend, Ind., scaling back production to about 30,000 Hummer H2's a year -- below the 40,000 vehicles the company had once envisioned.
Hummer has also become a symbol of America's love affair with large gas-guzzling S.U.V.'s. The Sierra Club used to operate a website devoted to criticizing the brand, and another site, whose name cannot be printed here, has more than 1,000 pictures of people giving the Hummer H2 an obscene gesture. "This brand, even from its inception, has been very polarizing," said Ms. Docherty, who took over as Hummer's manager in August after having led the marketing of the Cadillac Escalade S.U.V. "I don't think that's all bad. I know what the brand represents. My job is to make sure that we meet the needs of customers in the segments we go into."
Rising fuel prices have probably not helped the Hummer -- poor gas mileage has been one of the top complaints of Hummer drivers, according to J.D. Power & Associates. But most analysts say that Hummer's main problem is not gas prices but that its bold design made it a vehicle that had a hot debut only to cool off, a pattern seen before with other flashy designs like the PT Cruiser by Daimler Chrysler.
"My own feeling is that the fad is beginning to wear off," said David Healy, an analyst at Burnham Securities. "When you have a unique vehicle, the novelty tends to wear off fairly quickly so you have to keep variety coming to keep volume up."
Sales next year could also be hurt by a recent move in Congress to curb a tax deduction that allows small-business owners to deduct up to $100,000 immediately for only the largest and least fuel-efficient sport utility vehicles, including Hummers. The deduction is now capped at $25,000, which is still considerably higher than small-business deductions available for cars and smaller S.U.V.'s.
Gm is also working to soften Hummer's public image. Last week, the company showed a new prototype called the Hummer H2H, a Hummer powered by a hydrogen fuel cell that will be on loan to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, the first civilian to buy a Humvee, long before the retail Hummer brand was created.
"Californians invent the future and the H2H shows that a vehicle of today can run on the fuel of tomorrow," Mr. Schwarzenegger said in a statement last week. During the state's recall election, Mr. Schwarzenegger promised to get a Hummer outfitted to run on hydrogen.
Ms. Docherty said the H2H, which has about a 50-mile range before it needs refueling, "is at the governor's disposal."
What's next for Hummer? Ms. Docherty would not say, though she seemed to be suggesting a more conventional pickup truck, saying that a recent prototype Hummer pickup made by Gm "seemed like a logical place" for the brand. "There are territories that Hummer could occupy and there are territories Hummer should never occupy," she said. "We're never going to have a minivan or a small car." H3 LENGTH -- 15 ft. 6 in. WIDTH -- 6 ft. 3 in. HEIGHT -- 6 ft. 3 in. WHEELBASE -- 9 ft. 4 in. WEIGHT -- 4,700 lbs. MILES PER GALLON -- 16 city/20 highway H2 LENGTH -- 17 ft. WIDTH -- 6 ft. 9 in. HEIGHT -- 6 ft. 7 in.* WHEELBASE -- 10 ft. 1 in. WEIGHT -- 6,400 lbs. MILES PER GALLON -- 12 *Without roof rack. Numbers are estimated. The H2 is exempt from government fuel economy standards; the H3 has not been tested yet. (Source by General Motors)