Remember the Hummer? Almost everyone was infatuated with the H1 version of the HMMWV, or Humvee, the military-derived all-terrain transporter produced by AM General, and the rough-and-tumble vehicle eventually spawned the H2 Hummer after General Motors bought the rights to the brand. The H2 was a decent success for GM, but bankruptcy and fuel mileage concerns forced Hummer to bite the dust before its time, taking with it the H3 compact pickup and SUV models, too.
An interesting conversation I had with a GMC designer this past week indicates that while the body might be cold, the spirit of the Hummer is far from dead. In fact, GMC is currently in the process of putting together an off-road-oriented model that will follow in the Hummer's foot steps and go after the same market as stalwarts like the Jeep Wrangler. This won't be merely a gussied-up Terrain with some skid plates and a lift kit: we're talking an entirely new vehicle that is purpose built to tackle the rough stuff.
There's no word on when such a model would hit the market, but it's encouraging to see GMC expanding its truck-focused mandate to include off-road fans. With the Toyota FJ Cruiser on the way out the door, there are few direct competitors to the Wrangler, presenting GMC with a ripe opportunity to capture the hearts and minds of a new set of customers.