Hummers are built by AM General Corporation, formerly the heavy industries division of American Motors, in its Mishawaka, Indiana assembly plant. AM General had planned to sell a civilian version of the Hummer as far back as the late 1980s. In 1990, two matching white Hummers were driven from London, UK to Beijing, People's Republic of China over the rough roads of the central Soviet Union. The Hummers made the drive with ease, and highlights of this journey were broadcast on ESPN in the United States. The publicity would pale in comparison to the attention that the Hummer received for its service in Operation Desert Storm the following year.
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In 1991, AM General began selling a civilian version of the M998 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) vehicle to the public under the brand name Hummer. In 1999, AM General sold the brand name to General Motors but continued to manufacture the vehicles, which GM then re-sold. In the next few years, GM introduced two new homegrown models, the H2 and H3, and renamed the original vehicle to H1.