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Hummer H2
Hummer H2
After "Operation Desert Shield," also known as "the first Iraq war," GM bought the rights to the Hummer name from A.M. General, the company that made military Humvee used to carry American troops.

First, Hummer sold the vehicle that became known as the H1. This was a sprawling off-roader that barely fit within a single traffic lane. That was followed by the H2, a still-hulking full-size SUV that was at least better suited to driving on real roads. Finally, in 2006, came the Hummer H3, a midsized SUV with a five-cylinder engine. Even with its smaller engine, the H3's fuel economy was still relatively poor.

Hummer has always been what's politely called a "polarizing" brand. In other words, you either love it or you hate it. And many people who love it especially love that everyone else hates it.

GM tried to clean up Hummer's image by touting its utility in disaster areas - these vehicles do have genuine off-road skills - but it's not a pitch that attracted real buyers.

As gas prices rose in 2008 and with America mired in an increasingly unpopular second Iraq war, the Hummer haters began to get the upper hand. Hummer sales dwindled to a mere pittance. Beyond that, GM could no longer afford Hummer's bad public image. Finally, Hummer became a victim of restructuring and GM is selling off the brand.

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Last updated June 02 2009: 3:55 PM ET
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