Wednesday, June 04, 2008

No More Hummers?

Speaking of cars, It looks now as if high gas prices will finally bring an end to Hummer production.

Reacting to growing consumer sentiment, General Motors chief executive G. Richard Wagoner Jr. said yesterday that the world's biggest automaker will consider revamping or selling off some of the world's biggest passenger vehicles -- the Hummer line....

Before GM's annual meeting yesterday in Wilmington, Del., Wagoner said the automaker is "undertaking a strategic review of the Hummer brand, to determine its fit with GM's evolving product portfolio."

High fuel costs are hurting sales of GM's high-profit trucks and sport-utility vehicles. Wagoner said yesterday that GM will close four production plants and start making more small vehicles, which the Hummer decidedly is not.

"At this point," Wagoner said, "we are considering all options for the Hummer brand . . . everything from a complete revamp of the product lineup to partial or complete sale of the brand."
If GM cannot find a way to make Hummers economically viable in the current market, chances are that no one else will be interested in manufacturing them, either.

As the article mentions, Hummers are well-designed for some purposes, but those do not represent the majority of commercial purchases. Most are really a form of conspicuous consumption. In this case, each Hummer represents not only a conspicuous amount of money to purchase the vehicle, but also of nonrenewable resources – fossil fuels and a temperate climate.

As bad as Hummers are, however, there is one thing worse: a stretched Hummer.