More stories related to Geneva Motor Show GENEVA – European sales of the midsize Hummer H3 SUV will total about 2,000 units annually beginning in 2006, a General Motors Corp. executive predicts.

Deliveries of the H3, which is scheduled to arrive in European showrooms this summer, are expected to hit 500 to 600 units in 2005, Hummer General Manager Susan Docherty says here at an event previewing the vehicles GM will showcase at the Geneva auto show this week.

The forecasted H3 sales dwarf yearly deliveries of the H2 fullsize SUV in Europe, which are holding steady at 500 to 600 units.

“There are a couple of reasons (the H3) is going to do well,” Docherty says. “It’s approachable and accessible for Europeans.”

Hummer H3

The H3 also will offer a 5-speed manual transmission – an option with a 90% penetration rate in some European markets, Docherty notes.

The top six European countries for H3 sales will be Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy, Spain and Russia. No right-hand-drive version will be offered for the U.K. and Ireland. A diesel engine offering also is absent.

“It is in our product portfolio,” Docherty says. “We’re evaluating diesels. But we won’t have one at launch.”

The currently weak dollar makes exporting the already profit-rich Hummers to Europe more financially attractive. But Docherty says the U.S.’s slumping currency did not factor in GM’s decision to ship Hummers overseas.

“Whether the dollar was 70 cents or $1.10 to the euro (it’s actually at $1.32:€1), this brand is poised for growth,” Docherty says. “The decision would’ve been made no matter where the dollar fell.”

Hummer presently is using a U.S.-based distributor to dispense Hummers in Europe.

“But we’re evaluating distributors for Europe that are actually located here,” Docherty says. “We’re talking to a number of people. There are several companies interested. We’ll probably make a decision within 30 days.”

bcorbett@primediabusiness.com