Following the annual GM shareholder’s meeting recently, rumors are circulating that GM may be putting HUMMER, it’s off-roading line of vehicles, on the chopping block. Apparently the CEO of GM, Rick Wagoner, has placed the HUMMER line under formal “review” to determine whether it undergoes a serious facelift or (more likely) gets sent to the scrap-heap.
Obviously, the cloud that’s been hanging over HUMMER since the fuel crisis began has been visible to everyone. It’s difficult to justify 46mm monotube gas-charged shocks, independent SLA torsion bars, and a curb weight of about 6,000 pounds – unless you’re running errands through the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau.
So it’s hard for the average HUMMER owner to generate much sympathy when he has to sell his kidney’s to afford a full tank. Amid the giant suburban pseudo-warriors, however, there does exist a small group of individuals who actually use the centralized tire inflation system (CTIS) for something other than impressing women (although let it be noted that the ability to deflate and re-inflate your tires while still in motion is a turn-on). The group is called HOPE, an acronym for “HUMMER Owners Prepared for Emergencies.”
Today, with the wolves rapidly circling around anything bigger then a Prius, individuals who truly utilize the amazing feats of engineering which they drive are often overlooked. Although given little press time, regional chapters of HOPE were among the first to respond in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Despite widespread cycnism surrounding GM’s initial contribution to HOPE (many viewed it as a clever PR move), HOPE functions primarily off of the dedication of each individual member. Besides the obvious willingness to respond immediately to a crisis, HOPE members are also required to posses current Red Cross First Aid and CPR training, a disaster-preparedness kit that would make Dr. Strangelove proud, and, of course, a HUMMER.