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Hummer H2 Driving Academy

Hummer H2 Assembly PlantSouth Bend, Ind -Owners of the new HUMMER H2 now have the opportunity to go to basic training - the H2 Driving Academy - to learn about their new SUV, its off-road capabilities and how it earned the HUMMER name.

Participants in the three-day H2 Academy are privy to an inside look into the HUMMER legacy. They get a private plant tour of the H2 manufacturing facility, a technical class on the engineering of HUMMER and many hours of driving training on the exclusive AM General Off-Road Test Course open only to military personnel and HUMMER training activities.

Much more than simple transportation, a HUMMER is a powerful off-road machine designed to traverse sand, mud, rocks and water. The H2 meets many of the military specifications of its cousin the HUMVEE, like climbing a 60 percent incline, a 60 percent decline and an unnerving 40 percent side slope. The H2 also is capable of climbing 16-inch ledges, fording 20-inches of water and mastering boulders, logs and ditches.

Students of the Academy receive full-time personalized instruction from AM General off-road trainers. "The staff at the HUMMER Driving Academy focuses on providing thorough instruction for each owner so that they graduate the Academy as safe, responsible off-roaders with a new found respect for the HUMMER in their driveway," said Bill Thompson, founder of the HUMMER Driving Academy.

The AM General Off-Road Test Course is a 320-acre facility that features an "in-field" of controlled obstacles that demonstrate each of the HUMMER's capabilities and 15 miles of off-road trails in the woods, which give the drivers a variety of terrain and off-road scenarios to conquer.

In addition to driving, Academy participants learn skills necessary for safe off-roading such as the proper way to pack a truck, basic off-road first aid, Global Positioning Navigation and how to operate a winch - a power-wound cable on a drum used for vehicle recovery. Throughout the program the Tread Lightly principles for environmentally responsible off-roading are taught and a free membership to Tread Lightly is included with the program fee.

Cost of the H2 Driving Academy is $3,757 and includes lodging and meals for three days, transportation throughout the program, use of an H2 for the scheduled driving activities and driving instructors for personalized off-road instruction.

The H2 Academy is based on the more extensive H1 Driving Academy that AM General began in 1998. The H1 program includes many of the same elements with the addition of more extreme obstacles such as sand dune driving, driving with Night Vision technology and advanced winching.

The only pre-requisite to participate in any of the Academy programs is that students must already own a HUMMER.

"The HUMMER Driving Academies are not meant to be sales tools, but rather a relationship-building opportunity with our owners to teach the safe and responsible use of the awesome capabilities of a HUMMER," said Thompson. "Over the years, we have seen many off-road enthusiasts created from the Academies. People arrive in South Bend thinking they bought an SUV, after a few days they discover the fun of off-roading and what it means to own a HUMMER."

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