Hummers were originally built by AM General Corporation, which was formerly AMC Jeep's General Products division, in its South Bend, Indiana assembly plant. AM General had planned to sell a civilian version of the Hum-Vee as far back as the late 1980s. In 1990, two matching white Hum-Vees were driven from London to Beijing over the rough roads of central Soviet Union. The Hummers made the trip with ease, for they were built to drive on off-road terrain. The highlights of this journey were broadcast in the United States on ESPN. This publicity would pale in comparison to the attention that the HMMWV received for its service in Operation: Desert Storm the following year.
In 1992, AM General began selling a civilian version of the M998 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV or Hum-Vee) vehicle to the public under the brand name "Hummer". According to sources, they began doing so after Arnold Schwarzenegger asked them to; apparently, he was impressed by a convoy of HMMWVs that drove by during his filming Kindergarten Cop in 1990.
In 1998, AM General sold the brand name to General Motors, but continued to manufacture the vehicles. GM is responsible for the marketing and distribution of all Hummers produced by AM General. In the next few years, GM introduced two new homegrown models, the H2 and H3, and renamed the original vehicle H1. AM General continued to build the H1 until it was discontinued in 2006, and is contracted by GM to produce the H2. The H3 is built in Shreveport, LA alongside the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon pickups, with which it shares the GMT-355 platform (custom modified and designated GMT-345). 2006 Hummer lineup: H3, H1, and H2 (L-R) As of 2006, Hummer has gone international with selected importers and distributors in Europe and other markets.
Since October 10, 2006, GM has been producing the Hummer H3 at its Port Elizabeth plant in South Africa for international markets. Hummers at the Port Elizabeth plant are built both for local South African consumption and exported to Australia in the 2008 model year. In Europe, the Middle East, and Japan, the H3 is also already available. As of October 2006, Hummer vehicles are marketed by about 300 dealers in 34 countries. 173 of those are in the U.S.
The H2 is also assembled in Kaliningrad, Russia, by Avtotor, starting in June 2004. The plant produces a few hundred vehicles annually, and its output is limited to local consumption (five dealers in Russia initially).
GM CEO Rick Wagoner has said the Hummer brand of trucks will run on Biofuel Powertrains at last year's[clarify] Los Angeles International Auto Show. Arnold Schwarzenegger has subsequently had one of his Hummers converted to run on biofuel and now promotes this approach.