GM exec: We need more new Hummers
September 28 2006: 5:39 PM EDT
Paris (Reuters) -- General Motors Corp.'s Hummer brand needs to double its product lineup by adding two or three more models, the executive charged with GM's product planning told reporters on Wednesday.
"Hummer needs some more products. It needs two or three more products to give it sufficient market coverage," General Motors Vice Chairman Bob Lutz told reporters at the opening of a Hummer dealership in Paris.
Lutz said making a Hummer-branded pickup truck, which would have ample passenger seating, remained an "option."
Earlier this year GM (Charts) faced pressure from activist investor Kirk Kerkorian to consider spinning off Hummer, which began as a high-mobility vehicle produced for the U.S. military.
But GM executives have argued that the brand is central to the automaker's strategy as it moves to cut costs, shore up market share and return to profitability in the U.S. market.
Sales of Hummer were up almost 50 percent in the first eight months of this year. By contrast, GM's overall sales were down 12 percent.
Hummer currently has three models: the H2, H2 SUT and H3. GM announced earlier this year it is stopping production of the original H1 Hummer, which was larger than the full-size H2.
The H2 SUT has short pickup-style truck bed.
The H3, which is built on GM's midsize pickup truck platform, accounts for about three-quarters of the brand's current sales. It is similar in size to a Nissan Pathfinder or Toyota 4Runner and is powered by a 5-cylinder engine.
GM executives have said previously that a smaller vehicle, similar in size to a Jeep Wrangler, is also being considered for the brand.
Hummer, which GM bought in 1999, has acquired both fervent fans like California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and outspoken critics, who see the brand's heavy SUVs as a symbol of American consumer excess and dependence on foreign oil.
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