Rogers Hummer dealership. Those three words beg the question: WHY???
For a period in the mid-2000′s, General Motors insisted on milking the civilian Hummer trend for all it was worth by opening up Hummer-only dealerships throughout the country. One of its chosen locations was Rogers, Minnesota. Rogers, located off of busy I-94, was/is an up-and-coming exurb of the Twin Cities. There was a time when the only reason to go to Rogers was to visit the Pleasant Hills Saddle Shop (according to my dad anyway) but in the mid-2000′s, this all changed. Because people were flocking to the exurbs at the time to move into townhomes and McMansions bought with sub-prime mortgages, Rogers attracted chain-after-chain-after chain. The arrival of Cabelas, Best Buy, Caribou Coffee, Kohls, Super Target, Denny’s and more christened Rogers into sweet, sweet suburbia.
I wouldn’t think a Hummer dealership would fare that well on this side of town, but what do I know? I’m sure GM did researched the demographics of the area and felt that selling Hummers off the side of I-94 in a growing Twin Cities exurb was viable place for a niche, luxury dealership to thrive. *shrugs*
It opened in late 2005 and closed in the spring of 2007, for a grand total of 15 months in business, so what does that tell you?
It may or may not have something to do with being located out on the fringe of the metro area…I have no idea. What I do know is that no one wants these vehicles anymore — so much so that General Motors halted production and dismantled the brand in 2010. It wasn’t just the folks in Rogers who didn’t want these obnoxious vehicles anymore — they were waning in popularity everywhere. With the economy in the toilet and gas prices threatening to go up to $5/gallon, even the most zealous Hummer fans started started selling them off.
Like I mentioned earlier, it closed in April 2007, when the rumblings of a recession were just beginning. The recession didn’t lead to this dealership’s demise but rising gas prices, environmental concern and the overall jackass stereotype of someone who owns a Hummer probably did.
‘Cuz when you pull up in a Hummer, it sends a strong message. In the early 2000s, you could pull up in your yellow Hummer, bumpin’ a little Chingy and get admiring looks and some “Awwww, YEAHs” and a “Nice ride, man.” Plus, there was a pretty good chance that women would fling red lace nighties at you.
Today, you pull up in a Hummer and people are going to flip you the bird. And it’s not because you’re listening to Chingy. You simply don’t see too many of these on the road anymore — and if you do, they have dealer plates or they’re covered in a promotional wrap to exploit a business, like this Little Caeser’s vehicle that I saw a few days ago:
Now, I’m not going to go into the entire history of the Hummer. If you’re interested in the Hummer saga, I direct you to Wikipedia (because that’s how I got this information).
Basically, GM began selling Hummers (the H1) to civilians in the early ’90s. Hummers grew in popularity throughout the decade, with its growth directly tied to the number of rap videos in which the vehicles were featured. Demand grew and more and more Hummers were rollin’ off the production lines.
As production rolled on, GM had three makes of Hummers available:
The H1 was an absolute TANK and with a price tag of over $150,000, you didn’t/won’t see many of these on the road.
The H2 was smaller than the H1 and had a mid-range price tag, at approximately $50k+.
And for those on a budget, the wallet-friendly H3 rolls in at a cool $30,000+.
Now that I wrote all this smack about the Hummer, I’ll let you in on a little secret:
I test drove an H3 once. Not at the Rogers dealership, but over at the Roseville Wally McCarthy Cadillac dealership. You crunchy granolas can beat me over the head with a bag of CFL light bulbs if you must, but I did it and I’ll own up to it.
I didn’t like it. In my head, it played out this way:
I’d start the engine, crank up a little “Country Grammar”, roll down the freeway, blast out of a swampy bog and bully my way into the Galleria parking lot, sticking my head out of the sunroof yelling, “WOOO VEGAS BABY YEAH!”
In reality, I hated it because I couldn’t see enough of my surroundings. I didn’t want to drive it on the highway, much less take it off-roadin’ in a drainage ditch. I was too scared, so I drove it around some backroads and did a few easy loops around an empty parking lot of an office building and made my way back to the dealership. I was never intending to buy it anyway. It was one of those things were, “Hey! We’re here…we’re car shopping. Might as well test drive a hummer and knock it off the bucket list” kind of thing.
After the test drive, I felt guilty. Screw all you Earth Muffins for trying to make me feel remorseful about my god-given right to a wasteful American lifestyle! I needed to repent so I biked to Whole Foods and bought a pound of organic fair trade coffee to “make a difference.” The future is now.
Did YOU buy a Humvee from here? Man up and post in the comments.