By on January 14, 2020

The pending return of Hummer to the GM stable in the form of an electric pickup is such a perfectly 2020 thing, considering Ford’s recent decision to bestow the Mustang name on its upcoming EV crossover. However, the nameplate’s reported resurrection comes not in the form of a brand, but as a lone model bundled under an existing marque (GMC).

That’s something to think about. When Matthew Guy asked yesterday what defunct brand we’d most like to see return, no doubt most of you mentioned Viking or Marquette. Maybe Oakland or LaSalle. Geo, perhaps. Canadian readers probably yearn for a return of Acadian and Beaumont.

A few of you may have even mentioned Hummer.

GM’s unconfirmed decision to return Hummer to the fold as a model, not a brand, doesn’t sit all that well with this writer. In the past, some nameplates morphed into models after trying to hack it as a brand (Continental, Imperial), but not before they first appeared, yes, as a model. And they both returned to the same marque from which they were born.

In this era of consolidation, and with electric vehicles being no sure thing in the U.S., building a standalone Hummer under an existing truck brand makes sense. GM doesn’t want another short-lived Hummer experiment (not that the brand would have dwindled in the 2010s, had it survived the automaker’s bankruptcy). But it does curtail the name’s ability to spawn a SUV-and-truck family.

What say you, B&B? While GM’s EV future is spread amongst all of its brands (as the technology’s anticipated popularity will supposedly shrink the number of gas-only models in their respective lineups), would you have liked to see an eco-conscious Hummer return with a larger presence?

[Image: LeStudio/Shutterstock]

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32 Comments on “QOTD: What’s in a Brand?...”


  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    I voted for McLaughlin. Acadian and Beaumont would also be OK. As would Meteor. A Ford product that fit between Ford and Mercury in Canada. Or Durant, whose Canadian HQ still exists in Leaside and which continued operations after Durant closed in the USA. Or Studebaker which also continued production in Hamilton.
    Or REO which maintained a manufacturing facility in Canada into the 1950’s.

    Frontenac, Dominion and CCM were manufacturers based solely in Canada.

  • avatar
    Jon

    Sure. As long as its affordable to the common man. But since vehicle electrification has yet to become affordable, GM’s experiment probably wont be sustainable.

    Hummer isnt really synonymous with luxury or eco-conscious. That brand is probably more sustainable with products that line up with the audience and performance of its past products. As mentioned yesterday, Hummer should be strictly a Jeep competitor.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    Why must everything rehash the past?

    Are we that creatively stuck that we can’t come up with anything new? Let Hummer rest in peace and invent something else to call an EV that doesn’t honor the original at all.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      This.

      Metrosexual electric minivan based platforms can’t be saved with any nameplate, this is no different than branding that ugly minivan in Chevrolet’s lineup the “Blazer”

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        The rumor is about a BOF pickup truck.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          I’ll believe it when I see it. Let me make clear I’m not anti-EV if someone builds the right product.

          GM has screwed up so much I feel confident a BOF ladder frame style EV will never happen. If this were to happen it with my unibody with independent (non H1 style suspension) and shaped like an Acadia.

  • avatar
    cicero1

    I’ve posted this before, but not on yesterday’s article: Hummer never should have been a stand alone brand, it always should have been GMC – the GMC-H series, H1, H2, etc. How many millions of dollars did GM waste trying to build a brand. Even Toyota failed in trying to build Scion. On the other hand GM burned millions by ending existing brands Pontiac and, to a lesser extent Olds. The path of combined GMC, Pontiac, Buick dealers was the right direction.

  • avatar
    forward_look

    How about some good MoPar names. Eagle, Imperial, DeSoto, Plymouth, and Fargo.

    Time for Detroit Electric to make a comeback, too.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      We should be thankful they’re not making up new names anymore. Cities Service used a computer to come up with “Citgo”, and Standard Oil abandoned a perfectly good gasoline brand name, Esso, to use Exxon for both the company and the gasoline brand. Then there were the dummies who changed US Steel to “USX” for several years before cooler heads prevailed and changed it back. Corporations don’t hire creative advertising people to make good marketing decisions anymore, the clueless lunkheads in the boardrooms do it now.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Detroit Electric revived a decade ago, but I think they died off since their web site is offline.

    • 0 avatar

      “The Detroit Electric is a modern all-electric car brand by Detroit Electric Holding Ltd. of the Netherlands, from 2008.”

      Wikipedia.com

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Electrification will be a particular advantage for off-road vehicles because it will allow for application of forward or reverse power to each wheel. (Thus Rivian’s “tank turn.”) In an off-road setting EVs will also do comparatively better on range. So a line of electric off-road vehicles could be a pretty kick-ass proposition. Hummer is as good a name for such a thing as any.

    • 0 avatar
      Jon

      When four wheeling (off-roading destroys vegetation and creature habitats and closes public land), performance and/or cool features are not nearly as important as reliability, mechanical simplicity and the ability to self sustain or self repair if broken down. Electrification does not surpass ICE in any current/past (off-road) vehicle platform for these metrics.

      As far as range is concerned, I am not aware of any studies or tests that conclude that any production (or feasible prototype) electric vehicle will out-perform an ICE vehicle. Furthermore, it is very easy to extend range of an ICE vehicle with simple fuel cans or a larger fuel tank. Whereas an electric vehicle would have to carry a solar charger or generator or spare battery or human operated charging contraption to extend range.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Wait a minute. You’re arguing that a multi-cylinder ICE + multi-speed transmission + 4WD powertrain, which is an outrageously complicated device with a four-figure number of moving parts, is mechanically simpler than a powertrain consisting of four electric motors, a big battery, and some wires?

        And as for self-sustenance… your ICE, transmission, or transfer case breaks, and you’re a sitting duck. One of your electric motors breaks, and you’ve still got three. And it’s more likely that an ICE will break than an electric motor, assuming both are competently engineered.

        Range extension is indeed an issue, but within the range of one charge or fuel tank, electric power is far more efficient than ICE for the sort of low-speed crawling that constitutes much off-pavement driving. Your ICE is spending most of its time spinning the same speed as usual, even though movement of the vehicle is very slow.

        • 0 avatar
          Jon

          Your oversimplification of electric vehicle subsystems is astounding but I concede your point in your first section. However, it is all moot if you dont know how to fix what you got. New ICE vehicles are complicated and safeguarded by annoying “safe modes” if components fail or are operating out of spec. Electric vehicles require a different and more uncommon knowledge base to diagnose and repair (especially in the field) than ICE vehicles. Both are complex in different ways. That is why older ICE vehicles are better suited for four wheeling.

          Breaking your ICE vehicle (insert subsystem here) is a lot more complicated than simply “breaking” it. Individual components fail and thanks to mechanically minded redneck folks (also known as four-wheelin buddies), they can (sometimes) be easily repaired and/or replaced ON THE TRAIL. Now the duck is moving down the trail again.

          Please identify an electric vehicle what will continue down the trail with 3/4 or 1/2 operational electric motors.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            I exaggerated for effect, but my larger point stands: once they are being produced in similar numbers, I expect electric powertrains to be far more reliable and far easier to fix than ICE ones. The ICE advantage you’re describing is pretty much purely about a built-up knowledge base, which will come for electrics in short order once people have some experience with them. No reason your beer buddies can’t swap a hub electric motor just as easily as they can swap your busted alternator today.

            The point about extending range is harder to overcome. It may be that a PHEV setup ends up being the best for trips that go a long way off the grid. (Even if you still have an ICE, decoupling it from the wheels would substantially reduce a lot of potential for breakage.)

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            @jon:”Please identify an electric vehicle what will continue down the trail with 3/4 or 1/2 operational electric motors.”

            Tesla Dual motor. It’s designed to work on a single motor if one goes. I don’t know about other multi-motor EVs, but see no reason why they wouldn’t.

            “Your oversimplification of electric vehicle subsystems is astounding”

            okay, so add in motor controllers, charging system, and cooling. Still much simpler than ICE.

            “Electric vehicles require a different and more uncommon knowledge base to diagnose and repair (especially in the field) than ICE vehicles”

            Not really. I’ve worked on both ICE and EVs. EVs are so much simpler. I don’t know what you mean by uncommon knowledge base. Just like ICE cars, there’s plenty of EV information on the internet. Someone that’s worked on an electric RC model car or even a drone would feel at home working on an EV. Especially a drone. You’re spinning props instead of wheels and the EV has a cooling system, but other than that they are very, very similar, just a different scale. In fact, if you want an intro to EV repair, build your own drone from components.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            All I mean by that is that few backyard mechanics have yet spent any time jerry-rigging solutions to EV problems. They will before too long.

          • 0 avatar
            Jon

            mcs

            Ok, so the Tesla might continue down the road, not the TRAIL. There is a big difference.

            Likening an RC car or drone to an electric car is laughable at best. Downright ignorant is likely more accurate. Ill be the first to admit that i don’t have any experience with drone, RC or Tesla electronics. I haven’t a clue how (dis)similar their drive and control systems are. I will even admit electric vehicle drive systems MAY be less complex than modern ICE drivetrains depending on application. But then again, i havent the slightest clue about the complexity of electric vehicles drive/control systems.

            “Scale”

            Ah. I do know that there is a difference between 12/24v and 350V. 24V will wake you up. 350V will put you to sleep. The later can even kill if improperly repaired or worked on. The difference in safety procedures when working on these two systems is notable. 350V systems are not something that should be repaired or manipulated in the field without proper and/or formal training.

            The bottom line is that anyone who claims that repairing any automotive voltage system greater than 60V in the field (ie: when four wheeling) without all the proper safety equipment has never actually done so. They are no different than the NFL armchair quarterbacks.

            “Uncommon knowledge base”

            I have one question. In your circle of people that you know – what is the ratio of folks certified to repair electric vehicle drive and control systems to the number of folks certified to repair ICE drivetrains and control systems?
            In my world, that ratio is a lot less than 1. Uncommon indeed.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        This is another important point to make, I had my H2 at the beach for a full week just two weeks ago, driving on the beach is hardly a strenuous drive even with the extremely soft sand I lowered my tire pressure and paddled through driving up the coast along side the water.
        I averaged 3-5 MPG depending on how loose the sand was.

        Not only would you destroy the range of an EV in less than an hour doing that but you would overheat a lot of components. Run out of juice far from civilization? What do you do? Insurance just total the vehicle?

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          @Hummer:

          If I run out of charge in somewhere without electricity, I’d probably lug out a generator and a six-pack. I’m a lightweight, so the car will be charged enough to drive somewhere with grid power by the time I’m sober enough to drive it.

          Another option is to charge the car by pulling it with a tow strap:

          Regen will recharge the towed vehicle, with energy from the tow vehicle, delivered via the tow strap.

          And, of course, a properly engineered off-road EV would allow you to charge from another electric vehicle by connecting the charge ports together. I mention this last because the EVs currently on the market don’t have this capability, though I seem to remember Rivian saying they will add this feature to their vehicles — for exactly the reason you mention.

          There are lots of ways to deal with this.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            I don’t doubt that it would be possible, but off-roading uses significantly more energy whether it’s powered by electricity, ICE, or gas turbine.

            The amount of time it would take to charge up an off-road EV to the charge level needed to complete its trip on a small generator capable of running only a fridge, would give me enough time to source an LQ4 or LQ9 engine for my H2, remove the old engine and install the replacement in a field setting.

            But that shouldn’t be relevant, adding range should be short and simple, carrying an extra 20 gallons of fuel is easy, carrying a similar range of electricity is not.

            There is a lot of issues here that aren’t going to be solved and would make this vehicle DOA. I’m not talking Pie in the sky issues I’m talking about routine off-road issues.

          • 0 avatar
            Luke42

            An EV truck may be DOA to you, but it’s likely to be the only truck I’ll consider owning long term.

            There are a lot of things that really p!ss me off about the existing pickup trucks and BOF SUVs — which is why, despite having owned them in the past, I don’t own one now. I liked driving our Prius *much* more than I like driving the F-150 I owned at the same time, because the drivetrain and suspension in the Prius was much smoother, smarter, and more predictable.

            I’ve been shopping for a weekend truck, since I miss the functionality of the three pickup trucks I’ve owned over the years — but my recent test drives have just reminded me that I just don’t like driving pickup trucks very much. And, yet, they’re bloody useful for my hobbies, and I kinda need one again.

            Based on the EVs and hybrids I’ve driven over the years, an EV drivetrain fixes almost all of the drivability problems that made me hate the F-150 I owned. I’m going to test drive a 2013 Silverado 1500 Hybrid in the hopes that it will be an OK compromise until I can afford an electric F-150 or a Tesla truck.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    How about this – I don’t care either way. Just like I don’t care if cars like Smart exist or not.

  • avatar
    Mike-NB2

    Two things:

    1) be careful suggesting that the Acadian name make a comeback in Canada. I’m 53 and my memories are not of the rebranded Chevy II but of the rebadged Chevy Chevette. Chevettes and Acadians sold well but those of us who have memories of them don’t have good memories.

    2) does it really makes sense to try to move into a potentially environmentally conscious market by using a name that everyone associates with excess and waste? Just askin’…

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “But it does curtail the name’s ability to spawn a SUV-and-truck family.”

    Ford – when it comes to the Mustang name – would disagree.

  • avatar
    902Chris

    GM should cut another deal with Suzuki. In the SUV crazed market they have vehicles that are just asking to come to North America. Vitara or Grand Vitara XL7.

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