DETROIT — General Motors is resurrecting the Hummer, buying Super Bowl airtime to debut an all-electric pickup version of its gas-guzzling, military-style SUV, which was discontinued a decade ago, according to people familiar with the plans.
The Detroit automaker has signed NBA star LeBron James to appear in a new commercial during the Feb. 2 event, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans aren't yet public.
The vehicle, which was first reported Friday by The Wall Street Journal, will be sold under the automaker's GMC brand instead of a standalone brand, as it was before, according to one person.
A GM spokesman declined to comment on the company's plans. Shares of the automaker closed Friday at $34.65, down 1.2%.
The new Hummer model is expected to go on sale by late 2021 or early 2022 as part of the automaker's pivot to all-electric vehicles, including at least 20 new vehicles globally by 2023.
Taking a name such as Hummer, which was synonymous with gas guzzlers, and turning it into an all-electric vehicle under the GMC brand could be the "perfect marriage," according to Karl Brauer, executive publisher of Cox Automotive.
"What automaker on the planet wouldn't love to have the Hummer brand in its portfolio right now," said Brauer, citing the significant increase in sales for pickups and SUVs in the last decade. "There's no indication they shouldn't do this and every indication they should."
GM's previous Hummer brand included an SUV and a short-lived pickup variant. The design was based on the military vehicle known as the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, or "Humvee." During the early 2000s, the Hummer was a popular vehicle but also a source of criticism.
Hummer was discontinued as part of GM's bankruptcy in 2009 amid stalling sales, high gas prices and a sour reputation for polluting the planet.
The Hummer pickup is expected to be part of a surge of new all-electric pickups to enter the U.S. market in the coming years. Ford Motor, Tesla and Amazon-backed EV start-up Rivian are each expected to release pickups through next year.