Skip to comments.Demand high for Hummer toy vehicle
Posted on 12/23/2003 1:23:53 PM PST by Holly_P
GM enjoying profits from licensing deals
DETROIT (AP) -- The discerning child this year is definitely not interested in a hand-knitted sweater or Barney.
Wal-Mart Store Inc. says the most-demanded toys this Christmas are the radio-controlled replicas of General Motors Corp.'s Hummer H2. It's a vehicle that has gone from the deserts of Iraq to a box under the Christmas tree of thousands of American families.
The battery powered mini-Hummers, which are made by New Bright Industrial Co., can reach speeds of 11 mph and feature a honking horn, revving engine and an alarm that beeps when the vehicle is locked or unlocked. Headlights and taillights turn on as the vehicle moves.
The vehicle comes in two models, one that is a one-sixth scale and the other is one-tenth scale. Both are in high demand and stores are quickly selling out.
One man on the quest for the H2 is Wendell Griffith, 63, who wanted to buy one of the models for his 9-year-old grandson. At the Wal-Mart in Roseville, what he found was empty shelves.
There's also a more personal side to Griffith's struggle.
"I always wanted one," Griffith told The Detroit News.
It's not just Wal-Mart that's having a hard time keeping them on the shelves. Online retailer
Toysrus.com is sold out of the H2, as is Wal-Mart's Internet shop.
For GM, the demand for the radio controlled toy is both a pleasant surprise and a source of a little extra cash. The automaker generates a few extra cents per unit sold because of licensing deals with toy companies.
"We knew from the time we bought the rights to the Hummer brand that it had remarkable licensing potential," said Gene Reamer, trademark licensing manager for GM. "It really takes off this year."
Marketing experts say the H2 toy's popularity is evidence of how the Hummer brand has penetrated virtually every aspect of an American culture enamored with seemingly invincible heroes.
"There is no human being that can see the Hummer and not react to it, and GM will do anything to fortify that image and progress it," said Michael Bernacchi, marketing professor at the University of Detroit Mercy.
"I'd say this toy is making some strides in that effort."
I have seen every piece of that independent suspension break at least once. We once choppered out a pallet of dead transmissions and transfer cases (and we had a max population of six Hummers).
It has an automatic slushbox that fails every 800 miles of so -- this is necessary because of all the soldier-chicks who can't (or won't) learn to work a clutch. The tires were made by the lowest bidder, and it shows. The tread life is nil on the road, about 2x nil on dirt, the square root of nil on rocky ground. Also there are two different versions, the regular and uparmoured Hummer, and nothing interchanges -- not even the spare wheels. (And removing a tire from a wheel is not supposed to be a field repair).
Finally, the thing is too big for many roads and bridges in the third world, but so ineptly designed that it only seats four and has no more usable interior volume than a crew cab Tacoma, and less than a crew cab American pickup.
It finally reached the point that we needed to have full-time mechanics out at our camp just to keep the HMMWVs running -- and when I left, we were sending them out on the backs of Russian-made, Afghan-operated Kamaz cargo trucks because they were all irreparable.
The Toyota HiLux pickups didn't look nearly so cool, but they kept running. From where I sat -- all too often in the driver's seat of one of those crummy Hummers, under tow by a Kamaz -- the thing is all image and no performance.
But it looks cool, so it makes a good toy for the kids... probably the best use for the thing.
As far as I know the H2 is just a Blazer with some Hummer styling tacked on and the price jacked up. A Blazer for the insecure...
Criminal Number 18F
On the plus side, the uparmoureds take getting blown up pretty well, also, cascading into a riverbed... the vehicles get totaled but the guys live and keep their extremities. In the Toyota you risk limb loss on an anti-tank mine.
Thanks back to you and all the Americans that we knew were behind us 100%!
Criminal Number 18F
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