MADRID -- The heavyweight sport-utility Hummer has female appeal in Spain.
Women there are so attracted by the E80,000 vehicle that "seven women have convinced their husbands to buy our H2 model, even though their husbands never intended to buy one," says Hummer Spain Managing Director Carlos Espinosa de los Monteros.
Since the three-ton Hummer appeared at the Madrid auto show in May, sales have surged, says Espinosa.
The General Motors-built H2 model and the E200,000 H1, built by US contract coachbuilder AM General, went on sale in Spain at the start of the year.
Hummer Spain expected to sell 40 vehicles this year. But after six months, Hummer Spain already had sold 31 vehicles. "We have revised our sales forecast to 60 units this year," Espinosa says.
Additional Hummer models will join the range soon: The H2 SUT pickup that arrives before the end of the year will cost about the same as the H2, Espinosa says, while the smaller, E60,000 H3 -- which will share many of its parts with the Chevrolet Colorado pickup -- will be available starting in January.
Interest levels are already so high in the SUV that the importer has formed the Hummer Club of Spain, and will stage its first weekend rally in October, with anticipated participation from at least 15 Hummer owners.
Hummer Spain expects to create further demand for the SUV through its joint sponsorship of an H2 that will participate in the Paris-to-Dakar Rally, which runs from New Year's Eve to January 21.
The importer and co-sponsor Total Panel System, a Spanish panel construction company, are investing about E2 million in the US-based Hummer Racing Team, the first to enter a Hummer into the race since its debut in 1996.
Hummer Spain has a network of eight dealers, mostly retailers of premium brands, which are located in Madrid, Barcelona, Marbella, Alicante, Murcia, Valencia, La Coruna and Bilbao.
Waiting times for the SUVs vary. It takes about three weeks to get an H2 but about three months to receive the H1.
"Our customers are soccer players such as Ronaldo, bankers, and the Koplowitz family, owners of the biggest Spanish construction group," Espinosa says.
"About 4,000 cars costing more than E80,000 are sold each year in Spain," Espinosa says. "These customers are looking for cars that stand out and offer unusual technological characteristics."