Hummer: an elegy

Hummer, behemoth of the automotive industry, dies at age of thirteen.

Hummer came of age in a time when American ideals were centered on the idea of greatness- not just in achievement, but also in sheer size. Americans were consuming larger burgers electing presidents from larger states, showing off their large military prowess overseas, and purchasing homes roughly larger than a barn. Hummer came to embody this spirit of being large and in charge and, for a time, enjoyed a certain celebrity.

Hummer was born in 1995 a child of the military and General Motors. He comes from a long line of large vehicles; his older brother, the Humvee, had received a claim as an off-road vehicle handy in third world countries with poor road conditions. According to rumors, the idea of creating a civilian model- the Hummer- was first conceived at the suggestion of Arnold Schwarzenegger who had first seen them when filming Kindergarten Cop. Because of his large stature and unusual features the Hummer achieved overnight fame.

For a while, Hummer enjoyed being at the height of fashion. It seems that everyone wanted to ride the streets enjoying military level security. But then, society changed. New influences included the film Supersize Me, diminishing support for President Bush and the war in Iraq, and housing and oil crises.

In light of these changes, the popularity of Hummer began to fade. Many accredit this to the rise of the Green Movement. Because the Hummer was such a large vehicle the only way he could claim to be “green” was by getting a coat of green paint. Consumers began to realize this gas-guzzling beast was taking its toll on the environment and their wallets. For a while Hummer tried to keep up, emphasizing his use of ethanol gas, but there was no way he could compete with smaller, more eco-friendly hybrid cars.

Suffering from depression, Hummer locked himself in his garage and left his own engine running. He died of asphyxiation. The coroner estimated that he was dead after roughly three minutes due to the high quantity of carbon monoxide in Hummer’s exhaust.

He is leaving behind three children; H1, H2, and H3. He had hoped to leave a legacy for his children and wanted to see them living in a world run by soccer moms where the parking spaces are a mile wide and gas pumps marked every street corner.

This obituary could actually apply to the entire automotive industry at this point. The economy is hurting, and more and more people are waiting before buying something that will only cause them to become enslaved to the high prices of gas. What I wonder is what is this industry doing to become adaptable in these hard times? Judging from this article in the Times:

they aren’t doing much, other than hoping to God that someone solves this problem for them. We have a huge surplus of unsold cars, and the answer to this problem is to have the government bail them out? Maybe it’s time to start looking at why the cars are going unsold, and start rethinking the way cars are made and marketed.

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