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GM plans new Hummer model

Fourth Hummer model will roll out in 2009 to join H2 and H3.



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NEW YORK ( -- General Motors Corp. will likely launch a new Hummer truck in 2009, the head of the niche brand told Reuters on Wednesday.

"The new product will have unparalled off-road capabilities," Hummer's General Manager Martin Walsh said.

"Hummer needs some more products. It needs two or three more products to give it sufficient market coverage," General Motors Vice Chairman Bob Lutz had said to reporters at the opening of a Hummer dealership in Paris in September.

A pickup truck was one option for the brand, Lutz said at the time. GM executives have said previously that a smaller vehicle, similar in size to a Jeep Wrangler, is also being considered for the brand.

Hummer currently has three models: the H2, H2 SUT, which has a small pickup bed, and H3. GM announced earlier this year it is stopping production of the original H1 Hummer, which was larger than the full-size H2.

The H3, which is built on GM's midsize pickup truck platform, accounts for about three-quarters of the brand's current sales. It is similar in size to a Nissan Pathfinder or Toyota 4Runner and is powered by a 5-cylinder engine.

Earlier this year GM faced pressure from activist investor Kirk Kerkorian to consider spinning off Hummer, which began as a high-mobility vehicle produced for the U.S. military.

But GM executives have argued that the brand is central to the automaker's strategy as it moves to cut costs, shore up market share and return to profitability in the U.S. market.

Hummer, which GM bought in 1999, has acquired both fervent fans like California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and outspoken critics, who see the brand's heavy SUVs as a symbol of American consumer excess and dependence on foreign oil.

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