GM has enlisted NBA superstar LeBron James to promote Hummer’s return, including a plan to air a commercial during the Super Bowl next month, said one of these people and another person with knowledge of the advertising plans.
GM executives have talked about the possibility of adding more rugged, off-road models to challenge the rising popularity of Fiat Chrysler’s Jeep brand.
Barclays analyst Brian Johnson said a strategy to put Hummer under the GMC banner makes sense as a way to leverage a well-known name without building costly sales and distribution infrastructure around it, which hurt Hummer last time around.
“Had gas prices not skyrocketed, and had they perhaps marketed it within another brand as opposed to having to set up infrastructure, maybe it would have stuck around longer,” Mr. Johnson said.
The Hummer name is derived from the military vehicle known as the Humvee, which is still made by AM General of South Bend, Ind. GM acquired the civilian version in the late 1990s and aggressively expanded its dealership network while gaining attention from celebrity owners like Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Early Hummer models weighed 6,000-plus pounds and returned just 10 miles a gallon in average fuel economy. A Sierra Club official once said Hummer “embodied the worst impulses of the American auto industry.”
Mr. James has a long list of endorsements, including a lifetime deal with Nike Inc. Forbes ranks the Los Angeles Laker as the highest-paid player in the National Basketball Association and estimates that he will bring in $92 million in salary and endorsements for the 2019-2020 season.