GM News: Strike Enters Week 6, a Model the UAW Hates Grinds to a Halt, and the Return of Hummer?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
gm news strike enters week 6 a model the uaw hates grinds to a halt and the return

With last week’s tentative agreement between the United Auto Workers and General Motors, the end of the now six-week-long strike seemed closer than ever. GM hourly workers in the U.S. have until the end of the week to decide whether to approve the contract deal; if it gets the thumbs-up, the strike’s over.

Amid all of this labor news came a couple of tidbits, both of which stand to make the UAW happy. The first involves a resurrected nameplate built in Mexico, the other, a defunct GM brand that didn’t survive the company’s recession-era bankruptcy.

Despite being south of the Rio Grande, production of the Mexican-built Chevrolet Blazer finally ground to a stop on Friday after U.S.-sourced parts dried up. The Blazer, you’ll recall, came up frequently in the lead-up to the contract talks as the latest example of how GM, like other domestic automakers, was outsourcing assembly to lower-cost jurisdictions. Hardly a popular model among those concerned about retaining American jobs.

Earlier this year, the UAW called for a boycott of the midsize crossover, forcing GM to remove a bright red Blazer from a Detroit’s Comerica Park stadium to keep some of the peace. News of their labor action impacting production of the model might leave a smile on the face of more than a few UAW members.

“Production of the Blazer will be down until the strike is done,” GM Spokesman Dan Flores told the Detroit Free Press. “But production of the Equinox is running normally at Mexico and Canada plants.”

Perhaps more consequential was an uncorroborated claim that the $3 billion destined for GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant in the proposed labor contract could resurrect the Hummer name. Like Pontiac, Hummer fell victim to the restructuring and cost cutting of a decade ago, but the name could return to future electric models built at the plant, sources told Reuters.

While GM made it known, via the tentative agreement, that it plans to build a Ford-fighting electric pickup at Detroit-Hamtramck, that product, plus vans and a battery module assembly operation, may not be the extent of it.

From Reuters:

GM’s BT1 program includes an electric pickup for the GMC brand and an electric SUV for Cadillac, both due in 2023, the sources said.

Before then, GM plans to begin low-volume production in late 2021 of the first BT1 model, a pickup, under a different brand, the source said. A performance variant of the pickup will be added to that brand in 2022, followed by an electric SUV in 2023.

One of the sources said the Hummer name is “under consideration” but a decision has not been finalized. The pickup is codenamed “Project O.”

Bringing back the Hummer name would make plenty of sense given the overwhelming presence of SUVs and crossovers in America’s vehicle mix. Unlike the Saturn Astra, everyone and their kids knows what a Hummer is, despite the name being dead for 10 years. The sources claim the SUVs would share the same common architecture as the pickups, placing the products within reach of profitability.

Should the Hummer name affix itself to a green model, it would stand in stark contrast to the previous Hummer, which guzzled fuel like a WW2 aircraft carrier facing stiff headwinds. The Hummer brand was, and still is, synonymous with gargantuan, brash, eco-negligent, status-seeking vehicles; this move, if it comes to pass, would be a reformation of the name. Can years of stigma be erased with a battery pack? Past sins sometimes aren’t forgiven, though to those not especially given to environmental activism, the name recognition alone might be enough to have some truck lovers thinking Hummer once again.

[Image: General Motors, Chris Tonn/TTAC]

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2 of 62 comments
  • Akear Akear on Oct 22, 2019

    I have a feeling that an EV hummer will never see the light of day.

  • WildcatMatt WildcatMatt on Oct 22, 2019

    Somebody at GM is having a laugh: Using "Hummer" for "Project O"? I guess if the whole "S3XY" thing works for Tesla...

  • SCE to AUX I charge at home 99% of the time, on a Level 2 charger I installed myself in 2012 for my Leaf. My house is 1967, 150-Amp service, gas dryer and furnace; everything else is electric with no problems. I switched from gas HW to electric HW last year, when my 18-year-old tank finally failed.I charge at a for-pay station maybe a couple times a year.I don't travel more than an hour each way in my Ioniq 1 EV, so I don't deal much with public chargers. Despite a big electric rate increase this year, my car remains ridiculously cheap to operate.
  • ToolGuy 38:25 to 45:40 -- Let's all wait around for the stupid ugly helicopter. 😉The wheels and tires are cool, as in a) carbon fiber is a structural element not decoration and b) they have some sidewall.Also like the automatic fuel adjustment (gasoline vs. ethanol).(Anyone know why it's more powerful on E85? Huh? Huh?)
  • Ja-GTI So, seems like you have to own a house before you can own a BEV.
  • Kwik_Shift Good thing for fossil fuels to keep the EVs going.
  • Carlson Fan Meh, never cared for this car because I was never a big fan of the Gen 1 Camaro. The Gen 1 Firebird looked better inside and out and you could get it with the 400.The Gen 2 for my eyes was peak Camaro as far as styling w/those sexy split bumpers! They should have modeled the 6th Gen after that.