GM Considers Hummer Pickup Truck
General Motors Corp. is considering adding a pickup truck to its Hummer sport utility vehicle line in a drive to extend the highly profitable brand into a new segment and boost sales to 100,000 annually, according to a Reuters report.GM on Dec. 9 unveiled a concept mid-size pickup truck called the Hummer H3T, a two-seater with an imposing front end, a boxy look and a wide stance similar to the burly Hummer H2, the report said."The next logical body style for us to look at, in the image of Hummer's heritage, is a pickup," Hummer general manager Michael DiGiovanni told Reuters in an interview, adding: "So we're looking at it. We'll see what things develop down the road."According to Reuters, said Hummer officials have made no secret of their expectations of adding a third SUV, dubbed the H3, to the line-up in 2005. Like the H3T concept pickup truck, the future H3 would use components of GM's new mid-size pickup trucks, the Chevrolet Colorado and the GMC Canyon.DiGiovanni told Reuters Hummer will consider a full-size pickup truck as well but cautioned: "We don't have any of these things approved or in the product pipeline."The news agency said that, if it goes into production, the H3T would be the first mid-size luxury pickup truck on the market and would correspond with the Cadillac Escalade EXT, a full-size cross between a pickup truck and a sport utility vehicle. Sixty percent of Hummer's U.S. dealerships are located alongside Cadillac dealerships, Reuters noted.With the expected addition of an H3 model in 2005, Hummer's worldwide sales should grow to about 100,000 annually, DiGiovanni told Reuters. Hummer reportedly sold 782 vehicles in 2001 and 20,025 in 2002 when the H2 SUV was added to the range.Reuters said Hummer already plans to add a pickup of sorts to its range next summer. The five-passenger Hummer H2 SUT (short for sport utility truck) will have a 32.7-inch bed in the back that lengthens to 72.8 inches after folding down the rear seats and midgate behind the seats, the report said, noting that the truck bed on the H3T, a shorter vehicle than the H2 SUT, is 60 inches long."The H2 SUT isn't going to satisfy the pure pickup truck buyer," said Jeff Schuster, director of North American forecasting for JD Power and Associates, told Reuters. "The Hummer brand image would also fit well with the demographic of the pickup market. A big burly pickup would be perfect," he reportedly said.Reuters noted that environmentalists have criticized the larger Hummers for guzzling gasoline at a rate of 11 to 13 mpg.But at 4,650 pounds, the H3T weighs less, is streamlined with a more aerodynamic windshield, and has a more fuel-efficient inline five-cylinder engine, to give the pickup better fuel economy, Clay Dean, GM's design director for small trucks and Hummer, told Reuters."Fuel efficiency is something even Hummer can do," Dean reportedly said.Reuters said a production version of the H3T would get an estimated 17 to 20 miles per gallon, which is about the same as other two-door midsize pickup trucks.