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Demand high for Hummer toy vehicle
South Bend Tribune ^ | 12/23/03 | A.P.

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 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."

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: h2; hummer; toys
I bet a lot of "grown up" boys are buying them for themselves.
1 posted on 12/23/2003 1:23:53 PM PST by Holly_P
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To: Holly_P
"....General Motors Corp.'s Hummer H2. It's a vehicle that has gone from the deserts of Iraq ..."

Don't think the H2 has made it anywhere near Iraq.. except maybe Saddam had bought a few...

The H2 is the "civilianized" model.
2 posted on 12/23/2003 1:30:22 PM PST by RS
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To: Holly_P
If the real ones were about $15,000 cheaper, I'd have one in my garage.
3 posted on 12/23/2003 1:38:20 PM PST by Cobra64 (Babes should wear Bullet Bras -
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To: Holly_P
Cool, the greenies must be real happy.
4 posted on 12/23/2003 1:50:58 PM PST by Always Right
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To: Holly_P
I sure would -- if I could find one.

It would be the bees-knees for playing with the cats.
5 posted on 12/23/2003 2:05:53 PM PST by Ronin (Qui docet discit!)
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To: Holly_P
I like the soapbox derby one made of wood in that H2 commercial better than any motorized one in the stores. If I was still a kid, that's the one I'd ask for. Someone should make that kit for kids to build if it's not out there already.
6 posted on 12/23/2003 2:07:28 PM PST by tx4guns (Guns don't murder people; stupid people murder people.)
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To: Holly_P
Am I the only one who's not all that enthralled by the H2?

Now, the "real" Hummer!!! That's what I want (get your minds out of the gutter! I mean the vehicle! Sheesh!).

On a "cool hardware" scale, it hits about 11... 4 wheel independant suspension. Inboard disk brake rotors. Reduction gears in the hubs. Monsterously torquee turbo diesel engine. I believe it can be retrofitted with the military intake system that will allow you to run it on practicly anything... Kerosene, JP4, etc...

The only thing stopping me from buying one is about $115,000.

7 posted on 12/23/2003 2:21:54 PM PST by MarkL (I know that there's a defense around here somewhere... Chiefs 12-3... Bah, Humbug!)
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To: MarkL
I have spent so much time in military HMMWVs that I find people who go ga-ga for them simply hilarious. If I had a nickel for every time one of those pieces of junk got stuck in Afghanistan, I'd be able to sponsor an X-Prize entry (speaking of cool hardware) and have enough left over to get Michael Jackson's nose repaired (not that I would).

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

8 posted on 12/23/2003 6:05:50 PM PST by Criminal Number 18F
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To: Criminal Number 18F

I really had no idea about all the problems that the military is having with HMMWVs!

I wonder if one of the problems is that the military procurment process requires getting parts from the lowest bidder... While the civilian version (still with very limited passenger space, but then I hate people in general, and probably wouldn't be driving people around!) uses more expensive, civilian parts, like tires and wheels. I don't know... Just guessing. But if someone were to buy a $120,000 playtoy that breaks down every few thousand miles (other than those designed to do so, like a Lamberghini), you'd think that it would be all over the press.

Thank you for your service

Have a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

9 posted on 12/23/2003 7:19:59 PM PST by MarkL (I know that there's a defense around here somewhere... Chiefs 12-3... Bah, Humbug!)
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To: MarkL
Afghanistan is real hard on vehicles... so it is the ultimate torture test. Our standing joke was that when peace breaks out they can have a rally from Kabul to Kandahar via Bamian and Mazar-e Sharif. It would make the Paris-Dakar look like a drive on the interstate even if no one was trying to blow you up.

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

10 posted on 12/23/2003 7:45:33 PM PST by Criminal Number 18F
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