AM General is an American heavy vehicle manufacturer based in South Bend, Indiana, best known for the civilian Hummer and military HMMWV. Its only assembly plant is in Mishawaka, Indiana.
AM General's roots (and its location in South Bend) lie with the "General Products Division" of Studebaker, which, along with its substantial defense contracts, was acquired by Kaiser Industries after Studebaker left the auto industry in 1966. American Motors Corporation (AMC) became the owner when it purchased the Jeep Corporation from Kaiser in 1970, and Kaiser left the auto business. In 1971, AMC made the General Products Division of Jeep (producing contract and non-commercial vehicles) a Wholly owned subsidiary and renamed it AM General Corporation. American Motors ended its history as an independent Automaker in 1982 when controlling interest in the company was purchased by France's Renault. US Government regulations forbade ownership of defense contractors by foreign governments, and Renault was partially owned by the French government. Therefore, in 1983, AM General was sold by AMC to the LTV Corporation and it became a wholly owned subsidiary of the LTV Aerospace and Defense Company.
AM General produced buses, large trucks, and Jeeps for industrial, military, and government use. In the late 1970s, it developed the HMMWV (HMMWV, nick-named "Humvee") for military use as a heavy-duty replacement for the jeep. The vehicle later became available in a civilian version sold under the Hummer brand name. Another familiar product from the AM General line was the DJ-5 series—a purpose built "Delivery Jeep" 2-wheel drive (RWD) version of the Jeep—used in huge numbers as a right-hand drive mail delivery vehicle by the American.
AM General, which remains an independent company and government and military contractor, sold the rights to the Hummer name to General Motors in 1999 but continues to build the vehicles for GM. GM was sued early in 2003 by DaimlerChrysler, owners of the Jeep brand, for the Hummer's seven slot grille which resembled the design DaimlerChrysler argued consumers associated with Jeep vehicles. The lawsuit was dismissed due to the past corporate history involving AMC and Jeep. Production of the Hummer (the "H1" designation differentiates it from the Hummer and Hummer that were derived from GM-developed platforms) was discontinued in June 2006.
On August 20, 2004, it was announced that Ronald Perelman's MacAndrews and Forbes Holdings company would form a joint venture with AM General's current owner, Renco Group, to give Perelman 70% ownership of AM General. The deal reportedly cost close to US$1 billion.
Development and Production of the HMMWVEdit
In 1979, AM General began preliminary design work on the M998 Series High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV, pronounced Humvee); a 1.25-ton truck intended to replace the M151 MUTT and other Light tactical vehicles. The U.S. Army awarded AM General a prototype contract in 1981 and the development and operational testing was conducted over a five-month period in 1982. In March 1983, AM General won an initial $1.2 billion contract to produce 55,000 Humvees to be delivered in five basic models and 15 different configurations over a five-year period.
In 1983, the LTV Corporation bought AM General from American Motors Corporation and established it as a wholly owned subsidiary of the LTV Aerospace and Defense Company.
In 1984, the AM General headquarters moved from the American Motors AMTEK Building in Southfield, Michigan to Livonia, Michigan, and two years later to South Bend, Indiana, where the primary manufacturing operations were located.
Production began at the Mishawaka, Indiana assembly plant in the fall of 1984 and the first deliveries were made in early 1985. The total production by mid-1991 was more than 72,000 vehicles including international sales.
In 1992, LTV sold AM General to The Renco Group, Inc., who in 2002 converted it to a Limited liability company.
By March of 1995 about 100,000 HMMWVs had been built. Since 1991, an additional 20,000 HMMWVs were ordered by international governments. To date, more than 190,000 units have been produced.
Late in 2000, AM General was awarded another production contract for 2,962 trucks in the M998A2 series. The contract contained six single-year options running to fiscal year 2007.
The Humvee offers exceptional speed, mobility and agility and is built upon a multi-purpose platform, which will accommodate a broad range of configurations. Humvees feature full-time four-wheel drive, independent suspension, steep approach and departure angles, 60 percent gradeability and 16 inches of ground clearance. Humvees are currently in use by the U.S. Army, Marine Corps, Air Force and Navy at locations throughout the United States and overseas.
Other Military VehiclesEdit
Along with the HMMWV, AM General also produces the LSSV (Light Service Support Vehicle). The LSSV is the latest version of the CUCV and is a 4WD non-tactical vehicle for base operations support.
The LSSV is a GM-built Silverado 2500 HD (or 3500 HD) and is powered by a Duramax 6.6 liter turbo diesel engine. The LSSV is available in a crew cab or standard cab. It can also be equipped with the Enhanced Mobility Package which adds underbody protection, a tire pressure monitoring system, and other upgrades.
See article: PRC HMMWVs
At least two Chinese automotive companies are known to produce HMMWV copies/clones
- Dongfeng Motors produces a humvee variant, the EQ2050
- SAC produces the SFQ-2040