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GM to export SA-made Hummers

2006-05-16 09:10
The Detroit-based auto giant will produce several versions of the H3 for the global market, including right-hand drive and diesel-powered models, GM spokesperson Nick Richards told AFP.

The Struandale, South Africa plant is slated to export 33 countries, Richards said.

An American-made version of the H3 is sold in the United States, Russia, Canada and Mexico, added Richards, who declined to offer more specifics about the export plans.

The news comes just days after GM said it will end sales of the 140 000-dollar Hummer H1 at the end of June.

With gas prices rising, GM had only sold about 100 of the hulking H1s - which get only 10 miles per gallon - to consumers this year.

Another reason for ceasing consumer sales is increasing demand from the US military, said James Armour, president and chief executive officer of military vehicle manufacturer AM General, which produces the H1s for GM.

GM first began selling the Hummer H1 to the public in 1992, shortly after it captured the public's imagination in the first Gulf War. At the same time, production of the military version had started to decline, allowing AM General to use the same assembly line to build a civilian version.

Since then, GM has sold more than 12 000, mostly to affluent consumers such as California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who helped popularise the brand.

However, the gas-guzzling Hummer opened GM to criticism from environmentalists and others who considered it a symbol of excess. The H2 and H3 are smaller and lighter because they are based on GM pickup trucks.

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