A specialist in heavy-duty, military and commercial transportation, AM General is perhaps best known (through its preceding companies) for introducing the Willys Jeep used extensively in World War II, followed later by the ubiquitous right-hand-drive Jeep Dispatcher vehicle used by the U.S. Postal Service.
More recently, the company gave the world the Hummer H1, a civilian version of its military Humvee vehicle made famous by celebrity owners such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mike Tyson.
Today the company continues to build military vehicles in South Bend, Indiana. It had started with building bicycles at the turn of the 20th century before evolving into Willys-Overland in the 1930s, one of the primary manufacturers of the World War II military vehicle that spawned today's Jeep.
Willys-Overland became Kaiser Jeep after the war and eventually merged with the Studebaker company to build military vehicles. After the Kaiser portion of the partnership divested from the automotive business, American Motors Corp. purchased the Jeep interests and renamed its military and commercial efforts, which included city buses, AM General.
In 1983, the U.S. Army contracted AM General to develop a new all-terrain vehicle dubbed the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) or, colloquially, the "Humvee." American intervention in the Gulf War popularized the Humvee — often seen traversing harsh desert terrain with ease and authority — and AM General soon capitalized on consumer interest with a civilian version.
Powered by a GM-built diesel engine, the Hummer H1 was released in 1992. General Motors bought the marketing rights to the Hummer brand name in 1999, and AM General continued to build the H1 for its GM customers until June 2006.
AM General also built a special factory to assemble the Hummer H2, which was based on a GM pickup truck. The H2 was produced from 2002 until GM's bankruptcy forced the end of the Hummer brand in 2009. General Motors later built a smaller H3 model based on a compact truck platform without AM General's involvement.
Hummer H1 models command a premium on today's secondhand market, trading anywhere between $60,000 and $150,000 or more. H2 models aren't nearly as prized and can be found for as little as $12,000, up to around $60,000. H3s cost even less.
AM General FAQs
Who made Humvees?
AM General made, and continues to make, Humvees in South Bend, Indiana.
Are military Humvees street-legal?
No. The Hummer H1 is the civilian, street-legal version of the classic HMMWV, or "Humvee."
Is AM General publicly traded?
No. As of October 2019, AM General is a privately held company.
Is Hummer American made?
Yes. AM General made the Hummer H1 and H2 models in South Bend, Indiana. H1 production ended in 2006, while the H2 continued until 2009. The smaller H3 model, based on a General Motors compact truck platform, was built by GM in Shreveport, Louisiana, until 2010.