Detroit Preview: HUMMER HX Concept

click above image for more sketches of the HUMMER HX Concept

Talk about a dream job. David Rojas, Min Young Kang and Robert Jablonski are three fresh-faced grads of the College for Creative Studies (where many car designers get their schoolin') and recent new-hires of the GM Design division. Their first assignment handed down from on high was this: "provide a vision for the future design of off-road vehicles." Under the supervision of HUMMER design studio director Carl Zipfel, each young designer was assigned to either the wheelbase, approach and departure angles or stance - three core HUMMER proportions – and otherwise given liberty to design away. Though all three came up with their own visions, the won you see above was chosen by the suits to be transformed into an actual concept to be shown at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show.

The press release states that the E85 Flex Fuel-capable HX Concept features a pair of removable roof panels, as well as a removable rear roof. The end effect is some serious open air motoring while you're crawling boulders or jumping dunes. The slant back either recalls that particular body style of the original HUMMER H1, or like us you're seeing a lot of the Toyota FJ Cruiser in the shape, too (especially from this angle). The doors and fenders can also be removed for off-roading adventures, though it's not like this concept will ever touch a speck of topsoil.

[Source: GM]

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Three Young Designers Shape Future Of HUMMER Through HX Concept

DETROIT – Scheduled for introduction at the 2008 North American International Auto Show, the HUMMER HX concept reflects the innovative minds of three new GM designers - David Rojas, Min Young Kang and Robert Jablonski - whose first assignment was to provide a vision for the future design of off-road vehicles.

Fresh out of the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Mich., the designers' first test in GM was to design a fun, nimble and innovative HUMMER concept.

"HUMMER appeals to young people globally and served as a perfect first assignment for our newest talent," said Ed Welburn, vice president of global design and product planning. "Today's graduates from top design schools are ready to hit the ground running. The HUMMER design challenge gave our newest designers an opportunity to sprint."

The task presented numerous challenges to the new designers, from creating a vehicle for a brand known around the globe for its iconic design, to ensuring the model would live up to the market's expectation of HUMMER off-road capability.

To help ensure designs were true to the HUMMER brand, these designers were given limited design direction by Carl Zipfel, an ex-professional motocross racer and director of the HUMMER design studio.

"Carl definitely set the tone," said Rojas. "While he gave us creative liberty and challenged us to develop innovative ideas, he also defined three HUMMER proportions – wheelbase, approach and departure angles, and stance – and assigned one to each of us. It gave us a chance to collaborate, but also take our own direction."

While sketching and sculpting together in the HUMMER studio, these recent graduates drew upon the creative energy of each other, further improving their individual designs, as well as that of the final concept.

"We drew inspiration from one another," said Kang. "As you're designing and sketching you try to absorb what the other designer is doing and try to make it better."

David, Min Young and Robert's collaboration inspired the HUMMER HX concept, which presents extraordinary efficiency without sacrificing the unique essence of the HUMMER brand, the world's most capable off-road vehicles.

"While we took inspiration from the HUMMER heritage and DNA, we each wanted to evolve it in a new way," said Jablonski. "We agreed it should be contemporary, compact and definitely open air. It came out great."

After three months of sketching and sculpting theme work for the new HUMMER concept, each designer had the opportunity to present scale clay models to Bob Lutz, GM vice chairman and Ed Welburn, who chose which design would ultimately become the HX concept.

In its final concept form, the E-85 FlexFuel capable HUMMER HX embodies the off road spirit of HUMMER in a fully customizable package. The HX offers an open-air driving experience via a pair of removable roof panels above the driver and front passenger and a modular, removable rear roof assembly enabling a quick conversion from closed vehicle to open vehicle SUT. It also features a slant back assembly with removable doors and fender flairs.

"Working as a team, you realize it's more than one person influencing the vehicle," said Rojas. "You can see the inspiration from each of our designs in the final concept vehicle. We're all proud to have the chance to see our sketches become reality."

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