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2003 Hummer H2 Technical Briefing

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By now, everyone is long familiar with the Hummer (now dubbed "H1"). Earlier this year, we showed you the Hummer H2 concept. The folks at both General Motors and Hummer have been very hard at work all year and are about to begin production on the H2 as a 2003 model.

We were invited to a very small gathering in Detroit recently to get a first-hand look at what the H2 is all about and to meet with all of the engineers and big wigs involved with the project.

So join us as we give you the full scoop on the 2003 Hummer H2.

A Little Background
Before delving into the H2 itself, let's look at how the project came about. According to Mike DiGiovanni, the GM of Hummer, "In January of '99 a team of us actually went down to Indiana to talk with AM General and Jim Armor, who's the CEO and President of AM General, and find out if they were interested in doing, quote 'a Son of Hummer.' ...All the sudden he just jumps up and says 'Hell yeah, we're interested. We've been thinking about the same thing.'" A year later, GM acquired AM General.

Hummer H2Tom Davis, GM Group Vice President, Product Development, said, "We put the deal together on a handshake and four pieces of paper at AMGeneral a few years ago and have been moving very fast ever since."

He continued by saying, "From my perspective, it's a combination of arguably the best full-size truck platform in the world with arguably the most recognized brand in the world."

The Hummer H2 has come about as a partnership between General Motors and AM General. Though GM is overseeing the project, the H2 will be built in a brand new plant in Mishawaka, Indiana by AM General. In fact, the new plant is but 150 feet away from the plant building Hummer H1 models.

GM's involvement has allowed the H2 to come in at a lower price point by using some existing GM technology and sharing the GM parts bins. This is not to say that the H2 is a Chevy truck. It is not. However, there are a few parts in the H2 that will be instantly recognized by GM truck owners, such as the glove box, lights on the inside of the doors, and the seats.

Tom Davis added that, "H2 is about design, styling and off-road capability." What that means, is that the H2 is to be a direct descendant of the H1 but on a more mass-market level. By using and modifying existing GM parts and adding brand new parts, such as the Borg-Warner transfer case, the H2 will reach a new market of customers that cannot get into the H1 because of it's $100,000 price tag.

Hummer H2The H2 shares many of the same styling cues of the H1. For example, the boxy, square lines of the H2 look very similar to the H1. The flat windshield also is reminiscent of H1, as is the large size of the truck.

The H2 is 81.2 inches wide (excluding mirrors) compared to the H1, which is 86.5. As for length, the H2 is longer than the H1, measuring in at 189.8 compared to H1 at 184.5 (without winch). The H2 stands taller than the H1, as well. The H2 is 77.8 inches high, not counting the roof rack, while the H1 wagon model is 75.0 and the open-top model is 77 inches. So the H2 is a big truck, like its older sibling.

Producing a truck like the H2 is a bold move by the folks at GM. With soccer moms going crazy over SUVs, there is a great risk of producing a large truck like this. But Mike DiGiovanni said, "...daring is the brand essence of Hummer." Hummer is looking for a daring customer. This includes both daring owners who want to take their Hummers and play on the toughest trails as well as the daring stock broker who likes to show off his vehicle just as much as his prowess on Wall Street.

Though no solid numbers were available yet for the H2's pricing, all signals point to it arriving in the $40-60,000 range, depending on options. Will the soccer moms buy an H2 over a BMW X5 or a Lexus RX300? Probably not. But soccer dad just might.

We'll find out soon enough, when the H2 goes on sale in the summer of 2002. Production is set to begin by the second quarter of 2002.

Here's the Skinny
The H2 offers quite a bit to discuss. For full specifications, please click here. Follow along as we discuss several of the H2's key points.

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