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GM goes big for EV wars with GMC Hummer SUV

Henry Payne, The Detroit News on

Published in Automotive News

The compact Chevy Bolt debuted in 2017 with high hopes as General Motors Co.'s first all-electric car. But it was buried by a startup brand called Tesla with a sexier, faster, more capable Model 3 compact sedan.

For its second act, GM isn't messing around with compacts. It's bringing an all-new, all-electric vehicle for the segments it knows best: gigantic SUVs and pickup trucks.

The 2024 GMC Hummer is the biggest, baddest, blingiest, electron-guzzling SUV in the market. Just like its gas-guzzling forefather, the 1992-2006 Hummer H1. Landing like a LeBron James dunk in the middle of the NCAA tournament last Saturday, the six-figure Hummer EV ute follows the Hummer EV pickup as a double shot of exotica because GM wants to show you what it is really capable of in the EV space.

Sedan? Pshaw. Behold the crab-walking, dirt-devouring, asphalt-torching e-Godzilla.

"It's a benchmark vehicle for the industry," GMC Global Vice President Duncan Aldred said in an interview. "We couldn't have gone to that performance without going electric: 800 horsepower, 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds. We call it a super truck. Spend time with a Hummer EV (then) get into anything else and it feels like taking a step backwards."

GMC is arguably the General's most powerful brand soldier — its gorgeous, chromed, gas-powered pickups boasting average transaction prices north of $50k — higher than Euro lux brands like BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Red-hot Sierra pickups are being gobbled up after only three days on dealer lots.

 

"What GM learned from the Bolt is that maybe introducing your best technology in a Chevy doesn't work," said IHS Markit senior analyst Stephanie Brinley. "Put it into a halo, $110,000 GMC Hummer and they can really demonstrate what their technology can do."

Tesla Inc.'s Model S sedan wowed the world last decade with scorching performance, Ludicrous-mode acceleration, and Silicon Valley screen tech. The halo worked and Tesla a decade later is selling smaller, more affordable Model 3 and Model Y compacts by the boatload.

During that period, GM's car business floundered. Already reeling from the late-20th-century Japanese invasion that had rendered its Malibu and Impalas sedans back-benchers, GM's introduction of the battery-powered Volt and Bolt compacts didn't gain traction any more than their petrol-powered Spark and Sonic models had. In the last couple of years, GM has been getting out of the car business entirely.

But its truck and SUV brands have flourished. Hummer's purpose as GM's first vehicle on its skateboard, Ultium battery platform is to jump-start volume EV sales. Jut as Model S did for Tesla.

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