The history Of the HUMMER begins in 1979 with competition for the development of a vehicle to meet the Army's highest standards in a High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV). As that development race began, Teledyne and Chrysler Defense (later sold to General Dynamics) already had designs on their drawing boards. The proposed Chrysler vehicle was an adapted version of the Saluki desert design. while its Teledyne counterpart sprang from the design of a vehicle known as the Cheetah. Though AM General appeared to be well behind the others, the company moved into this competition with no preconceived design notions, rolled up its sleeves, and soon created an original -- the HUMMER.
AM General's prototype HUMMER went to test in the Nevada desert in July 1980 -- only eleven months from its design board beginnings. This was the first of many breakthroughs that demonstrated the company's know-how and leadership. The Army now had three serious competitors with vehicles under test.
The Army's formal procurement of test vehicles began in February 1981. Six proposals came in from industry and were evaluated against the Army's HMMWV specifications. The three most responsive designs were selected, and in June 1981 contracts were awarded to General Dynamics, Teledyne and AM General. The test vehicles to be acquired from each company included TOW Carriers, Cargo Troop Carriers and Mini and Maxi Ambulance variant.
Army specs were extremely stringent with demands for light armor, deep water fording capability, and Arctic and desert operational ability to name just a few, as well as absolute reliability, durability and maintainability, Vehicle weight constraints called for material application breakthroughs. All of this and just ten months to do it --still another set of challenges for AM General.
Once again AM General proved its mettle when it became the first company to complete its test vehicles. Prototype HUMMERs were delivered to Army proving grounds at Aberdeen and Yuma, and to a test site at Fort Hunter-Liggett in April 1982.
The Army's test phase was scheduled over a five month period after which a call for production proposals would be made from the competing contractors. AM General took that in stride as its HUMMERS were the first vehicles to complete durability testing. The company also came through the rigorous testing with the lightest vehicles and high performance ratings. Clearly, the HUMMER HAD scored as the superior technical offering.
Following AM General's production proposal, these "superior' vehicles were finally awarded the initial HUMMER production contract in March 1983, calling for 55,000 vehicles to be delivered over a five year period.
From tooling up time at AM General's Mishawaka plant to delivery of the first production test vehicles took just six months -- another remarkable achievement for AM General.
In 1992 AM General began marketing the Civilian Hummer to the public. The first year "Limited Edition" Hummers were sold directly from the factory. In 1993 AM General signed up close to 50 dealers to market the civilian Hummer.
In December of 1999 AM General sold the Hummer name and the rights to market and distribute Hummer vehicles to General Motors. AM General continued to Build the original Hummer (now called H1) at the Mishawaka plant. In mid 2002 AM General began building the all new Hummer H2 as a 2003 model in a new state of the art manufacturing facility adjacent to the HMMWV/H1 plant.
In mid 2005 Hummer introduced the 2006 Hummer H3. The H3 was a midsized SUV based on the Colorado/Canyon truck platform and built at GM's Shreveport, LA plant.
The final decision to end civilian H1 Production was made on Tuesday May 9th 2006, the decision was officially announced to the public Friday May 12th 2006. There were 729 '06 H1s built bringing the total number of H1s produced since their introduction in 1992 to 11,818.
June 3rd 2008 GM announces that it is considering selling or closing down the Hummer brand.
GM files for Bankruptcy on June 1st 2009, announces Chinese company Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Company will purchase the Hummer brand the day after.
On February 25th 2010 GM announces the deal with Sichuan Tengzhong for the sale of the Hummer brand has fallen through. GM says they will evaluate any further offers over the next several weeks and if no suitable offers are received, they will begin the "orderly wind-down" of the Hummer brand.
April 7, 2010 notification is sent to Hummer dealers that no "viable" buyers have been found and the "orderly wind-down" of the Hummer brand will begin.
The "wind-down" is completed and GM officially shuts down the Hummer brand on October 31st 2010.