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Hummer gets it right
[April 08, 2007]

Hummer gets it right

(Business Day (South Africa) Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) Hummer gets it right The vehicle of choice for attention-seeking celebrities will soon be available to South Africans, writes ABDUL MILAZI THE Hummer, a favourite with celebrities across America including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Wesley Snipes and Mike Tyson will go on sale in SA this month.

The first right-hand drive Hummer H3 came off General Motors SA's Struandale plant in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday.

For now, only the H3 is being built in right-hand drive for the South African market, while the larger H2 and the original Hummer, the H1, are not available.

In the US, the H1 is now produced solely for the military.

The H3 will compete with rivals Jeep Grand Cherokee, Nissan Patrol, Toyota Land Cruiser and Land Rover Discovery.

According to Mike Pearton, vehicle assembly operations director for General Motors SA, the proposed plans to get the right-hand-drive Hummer to local customers were on track. Production started at the end of last month.

We are all excited about the first right-hand-drive Hummer coming off the line. This line has created 500 extra jobs in the area since we started production on the left-hand-drive Hummer H3 last year," he says. Bob Smith, brand manager for Hummer, says orders from local customers have been streaming in.

The Hummer brand is new to the South African market and is a trendy must-have to many people, Smith says. The vehicle, which is ideal for off-road and outdoor enthusiasts, has stirred interest in people from all walks of life and the orders were received from a varied range of customers." Pricing details are not yet available, but industry analysts say the monster SUV could sell for about R500000. The company says prices will be announced in a week's time.

Last year General Motors SA started production of the left-hand-drive Hummer H3, and to date has exported vehicles to the Middle East and Europe. Smith said production of both left-hand and right-hand-drive will run on the same line. A total of 10000 Hummers will be produced a year, with three months' production supply committed to South African customers (about 2500).

The H3 will be available as a 3,7l, 20-valve, five-cylinder vehicle. A diesel derivative will follow later in the year.

What does driving a Hummer say about its driver? Those in the know say the premium 4x4 is for attention-seekers who consider themselves rugged individualists or achievers.

Celebrities who bought it include former NBA basketball star Dennis Rodman, rappers Coolio and MC Hammer, action hero Schwarzenegger, pop star Bjork, boxer Tyson and US author Tom Clancy, all attention seekers of note.

Movies that featured the Hummer include 1999's Three Kings, starring George Clooney and Mark Walhberg; 1997's The Rock, starring Sean Connery and Nicolas Cage; 1997's Con Air, starring Nicolas Cage and John Cusack; 1996's Independence Day, starring Bill Pullman and Will Smith; and 1996's Broken Arrow, starring John Travolta and Christian Slater.

Copyright 2007 Times Media Ltd.. Source: Financial Times Information Limited - Europe Intelligence Wire.

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