For sale: one big sport ute

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Published: September 30,2002

BRANDON — The Hummer isn’t your average sports utility vehicle, but then the Hummer driver isn’t your average Joe.

Michael Wallis hopes to attract just this type of person to Rogers Usry Chevrolet. The dealership is the only one in the state that has a Hummer franchise. After a two-year search, GM shortened their list of dealerships in the state from 30 to five and several weeks ago chose the Brandon-based Rogers Usry to sell its Hummer H1s and new H2s.

Many know the Hummers as the tank-like military vehicles able to climb steep slopes and leap boulders in a single bound. But the SUV is also quickly becoming known as a popular hunting vehicle as well as simple transportation to and from the grocery store.

Make no mistake. The Hummer is not for the weak of heart — or of pocketbook for that matter (the popular H1 are typically more than $100,000, while the less expensive H2 costs on average about $55,000). But for those looking for the perfect vehicle to run over shopping carts, drive through deserts or rivers with the greatest of ease, this is the vehicle to buy.

Wallis, Rogers Usry Hummer manager, said he has not wanted for customers. He’s fielded phone calls from customers as far away as Arizona looking for the vehicles. It’s no wonder. Hummer manufactures very few of the heavy duty trucks — only 600 to 700 H1s a year. The H2s are also few in number. In its full year of production of the H2s next year, GM’s goal is to produce 40,000 to 50,000.

Right up your alley

Of course, Wallis said, those individuals in the tax bracket who can afford especially the more expensive H1s are few anyway. But the newer, more moderately priced H2 is more up most people’s alleys. It’s been compared to the Lincoln Navigator, the Lexus LX 470 and the Range Rover.

In fact, Wallis said, he’s seen some women trading in their Tahoes and Suburbans for the new H2s.

“There are just a wide range of people buying them,” Wallis said.

So what’s the difference between the H1 and the H2, you might ask? Aside from the price tag, handling and maneuverability. The H1 is meant for mainly off-road driving, while H2s are more user-friendly and have a smoother ride. The H1, used by the military, can go through 30 inches of water, climb up 60-degree inclines and 40-degree side slopes and have a 37-and-a-half degree departure angle and a 72-degree approach angle without the winch — 47 with the winch. The monster truck has 16 inches of ground clearance.

The H2, on the other hand, can only do about 75% of what the H1 can do. It can go through 20 inches of water, clear 9.3 inches from the ground, go up a 60-degree incline and 40-degree side slope, and it has a 40.6-degree approach angle and 40.4-degree departure angle.

“It’s a pretty awesome vehicle,” Wallis said. “I don’t think there is a four-wheel drive SUV on the market that will compete with the Hummers.”

Contact MBJ staff writer Elizabeth Kirkland at ekirkland@msbusiness.com or (601) 364-1042.

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