Hummers Go Green? An Interview with Hummer GM Martin Walsh
You could say that we talk about Hummers a lot around here. They are kind of the environmentalist’s enemy, aren’t they? That’s why we were kind of shocked and intrigued when we got to have dinner, and an exclusive interview, with Martin Walsh – General Manager of Hummer – while attending the New York International Auto Show as guests of General Motors.
You can see the video of our interview with him below, and then continue on to read about the experience overall, as well as my additional thoughts. We discuss the H3, biofuels, and Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s After School All Stars program.
First of all, I was going to assume that they would keep Hummer and Ecorazzi “separated” so as not to start World War III over dinner (I was served a vegetarian asparagus risotto, delicious). However, as soon as I introduced myself to Martin and found out who he was, I said, “Uh oh.” He said, “We need to sit next to each other at dinner.” Interesting.
I have to say that Martin & I got along quite well. He’s an interesting, intriguing, and outgoing person and I enjoyed our conversations. He discussed with me the mileage of an H3, which really isn’t that bad (15 mph city, 20 highway). In fact, we almost only talked about the H3. However, it’s the H2 that is so monstrous that it doesn’t even classify as a personal vehicle. That means that no mileage information is posted. The H2 is also the vehicle that Hummer seems to promote the most. I do believe I was being pitched the H3 to distract from the H2.
However, I also realized something in my conversations with Martin: there are tons of vehicles out there that get crappy mileage. Yet, we all seem to focus on the Hummer. It makes sense: It’s huge. It’s unique looking. It evokes strong emotions. Sometimes too strong. And while I’m not making excuses for the Hummer – there are a lot of vehicles out there that burn major gas.
Finally, as was mentioned in the video, Hummer is planning to offer bio-fuels (ethanol & biodiesel) in all of its vehicles by 2009. It’s a step in the right direction – though I’m sure, as some of you will point out – there is a lot more to do.
I found GM’s offer to give bloggers uber-access to executives and information all quite sincere. It may be that they are at the forefronts of trying to understand how to use this new media to their advantage. It may be an attempt to save their reputation. And it may be both…I’m okay with that.
Again, I would love to hear anyone’s thoughts on the topic or if you would have any follow-up questions for Hummer execs.
Related post: Hydrogen Madness @ NY Auto Show