During the opening ceremony of a new HUMMER facility in Manchester, UK, Bob Lutz took the wraps off of a right-hand-drive prototype of the iconic, if not derided, H3. The newly rearranged interior will be manufactured at the General's Struandale plant in South Africa, which after $100 million in upgrades, serves as the primary manufacturing center for H3s consumed in markets abroad.
Those of you looking to get your hands on the most diminutive of HUMMERs can pick up your right-hand-drive version this summer in Japan, Australia and South Africa.
Check the full press release after the jump.
HUMMER H3 Right-Hand-Drive Unveiled
* Premiere at the opening of new HUMMER showroom in the United Kingdom
* Assembly in GM's Struandale plant in South Africa
* Start of sales in summer 2007
DETROIT - Bob Lutz, GM vice chairman, global product development, unveiled a prototype right-hand-drive H3 during the opening ceremony of a new HUMMER facility in Manchester, UK. "HUMMER's iconic design and unparalleled off-road capabilities appeal to a wide audience globally. We are determined to build upon the brand's unique recognition in Europe and especially here in the UK," said Lutz.
The right-hand-drive HUMMER H3 will be assembled at GM's Struandale plant in South Africa and will be available in other right-hand-drive markets, such as South Africa, Australia and Japan.
GM acquired the rights to the HUMMER brand in late 1999. The H3 made its debut in North America in May 2005 and helped make HUMMER one of the fastest-growing truck brands in the United States by the end of 2006. With its smaller, more efficient package, the H3 made the brand accessible to more customers, while still retaining the characteristics that make a HUMMER unique: iconic design and unparalleled off-road performance.
In addition to growth in the United States, HUMMER has shown significant expansion around the globe. HUMMER sales grew nearly 34 percent globally in 2006, with 82,000 vehicles delivered, compared with 61,000 in 2005. This performance was paced by the continued strength of the HUMMER H3.
While all previous H3s have been assembled in GM's North American facility in Shreveport, Louisiana, the new international H3, intended for most markets outside of North America, is being assembled at the Struandale Assembly Facility in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, where GM invested more than $100 million to prepare for production of the H3.
Since the beginning, HUMMER vehicles have been in a class of their own, with extreme style and capability, unmatched by the competition. The latest chapter in the story is the HUMMER H3, designed in response to demand from global markets for a premium everyday driving vehicle, offering the legendary HUMMER performance.
Developed for markets around the world and built in South Africa, the H3 embodies HUMMER's unique styling features and iconic shape. In addition, the H3 has a premium interior design and a 3.7-litre engine with the choice of a manual or automatic transmission and a full-time four-wheel-drive system.
H3 packs its authentic HUMMER style and capability into more compact dimensions. Compared to the HUMMER H2, the H3 is 39 mm shorter, 171 mm lower and 73 mm narrower. Roughly the same length as a larger family saloon, H3 can navigate city traffic, yet still deliver HUMMER's trademark crawling and climbing capability off-road.
The 4,782 mm long HUMMER H3 is powered by General Motors's Vortec 3.7-litre engine with dual overhead camshafts and variable valve timing. Specifically designed for this type of vehicle, it delivers 242 hp/180 kW at 5600 rpm and 328 Nm of torque at 4600 rpm.
H3 is the first HUMMER ever to offer the choice of a manual or an automatic transmission. In addition to the Hydra-Matic 4L60 electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission, a smooth-shifting five-speed manual transmission is available, offering ultimate driver control.
At the heart of the HUMMER H3's capability is its electronically controlled four-wheel-drive system. The system is augmented with traction control, an optional locking rear differential and StabiliTrak stability control, which is offered as standard. The H3 can ford 407 mm deep water at 32 km/h or 610 mm deep streams at an 8 km/h pace, and climb 407 mm vertical steps or rocks.
This off-road performance is also aided by the "wheel at each corner" design giving a maximum approach angle of 37.5 degrees and maximum departure angle of 35.5 degrees. These approach and departure angles permit the H3 to drive into a hole and back out again, without getting hung up at the front or the rear.
The H3's more compact size provides manoeuvrability advantages, such as an 11.3m turning circle, making equally easy work of parking manoeuvres or tight turns when off-roading. A 219 mm ground clearance and maximum breakover angle of 23.5 degrees make it possible to clear large obstacles in off-road driving.