The story of the Hummer starts in 1979 when there was a competition to develop a vehicle to meet U.S. Army standards in an HMMWV (High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicle, better known as Humvee). Although the competition was hot, with the likely favorites coming from Chrysler and Teledyne, AM General came from behind to initiate a design that was original in all ways. The result was The Hummer. Testing of the prototype began in the deserts of Nevada in mid-1980, less than a year after it first drove off the designer's boards. It still had not won the competition, which heated up in early 1981, as the U.S. Army began to evaluate six proposals against their specifications. Three vehicles were successful, with contracts being awarded to General Dynamics, Teledyne, and AM General in June of 1981. The tough Army requirements demanded light armor, Arctic and desert operational ability, and deep water fording. They also had to be reliable, durable and readily maintainable. It was AM General that was the first company to complete its test vehicles, providing the Army with prototype Hummers in April 1982. The Army tested the prototypes over a 5 month period. The Hummer proved to be durable, lightweight, and able to achieve high performance ratings. In March 1983, AM General was awarded the Hummer production 1.2 billion contract, in which 55,000 vehicles were required to be delivered over a 5-year period. The Army vehicles, were naturally followed by the civilian public Hummer. In late 1999, AM General sold the Hummer name and marketing rights to General Motors. AM General continues to build the original Hummer (now popularly referred to as the H1) at its plant, and also builds the Hummer H2, in a new plant next-door. In 1984, AM General headquarters moved to Livonia, Michigan, and two years later moved to South Bend, Indiana, where the main manufacturing operations are located.
The Humvee has been a prominent participant in Panama (1989-1990), Desert Storm (1991), and has played important roles in Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq. In 1992, AM General began production of versions of the Humvee, called the Hummer for public usage. Commercial users have praised its long-life and outstanding performance, and has become a dream machine for civilians who want to operate the ultimate in durability and mobility. In 2005, General Motors is producing the 2006 Hummer H3 midsize SUV. The vehicle continues to be newsworthy and on the cutting edge of design.