AM General: The Company that gave ‘Hummer’ to the world

2013-12-13 09:47:27

AM General is an automobile manufacturing company more famous for its world renowned Military Humvee and the civilian Hummer. The company is of American origin based in South Bend, Indiana. These vehicles are assembled at its Mishawaka, Indiana plant and the company also manufactured transport buses numbering over 5,400 during 1974-79.

AM General is a private LLC company founded in 1971 founded by American Motor Corporation. Owners of the company are MacAndrews & Forbes and Renco Group and its subsidiaries are General Engine Products and General Transmission Products. History of AM General can be traced back to 1903 in the Standard Wheel Company of India which eventually became Kaiser-Jeep in 1963.  The company then bought the Studebaker manufacturing facilities in South Bend India and formed the automotive division for Defense and Government production. When American Motors bought the company it became AM General.

When Studebaker decided to close operations in the US it was awarded with defense contract worth $87 million for manufacturing army trucks. This was the time Kaiser bought it and under pressure from the government agreed to execute the army contract. The operations were performed in South Bend, Indiana.  In 1970 American Motor Corporation bought the Jeep Corporation and made it as its subsidiary for manufacturing military and non-commercial vehicles and named it as an AM General Corporation.

The company was primarily producing large trucks, jeeps and busses for military, government and industrial use. During the year it developed ‘Humvee’ which was the nickname of High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) and it became the heavier substitute for the Jeep. This version was later converted to civilian use and was named Hummer. AM General is associated another famous vehicle the DJ-5 series a delivery jeep with 2-wheel drive based on the Jeep CJ-5.  This became the largely used mail delivery vehicle for the US postal service and had a right-hand drive.

In 1982 American Motors stopped being an independent automobile manufacturer when the Renault Company from France bought its controlling interest. However the US government rules did not allow acquisition of its defense contractors by foreign investors and the Renault Company was owned partially by French Government. Due to this the American Motor Company again sold AM General to LTV Corporation which later turned out to become the LTV Aerospace and Defense Company’s subsidiary. Chrysler Corporation bought American Motors later and AM General then existed as an independent automaker.

The company commissioned production of Humvees in 1984 and by 1991 it had produced 72, 000 units for military and international use. The Hummer brand meant for civilian customers was sold to General Motors in the year 1999. AM General also produced busses for public transport systems during the period 1974 to 1979 and produced 5,431 busses that also included electric trolley busses number 219. Prior to the production of Humvee AM General had also acquired a contract for manufacturing military trucks ranging medium and heavy for the forces and they included 5-ton series of trucks and M35 series of trucks. 

AM General models:

AM General Hummer