Since the start of the war in Iraq, Hummers have become hot property in the United States.

Since the start of the war in Iraq, Hummers have become hot property in the United States.

reported that General Motors said demand had grown for the Hummer. Hummer-branded shirts, jackets and other products were selling very well too.

The manufacturer said the demand had been boosted by the number of Humvees, the military version of the Hummer, seen on television during war coverage. Dealers sold 3 300 H2 Hummer models in March. The H2 is the smaller version of the H1, the first civilian version of the Humvee.

It also cheaper and more refined. The H2 dwarfs most SUVs at about 5 m long and 2 m high. It uses about twice as much fuel as a mid-size saloon during city driving. But it hasn’t stopped Americans from wanting one.

Hummer clubs throughout the country meet at off-road parks. The owners drive their vehicles over hills, through sand pits and compete on an obstacle course. “We exposed them to the culture of what these trucks could really do,'' said the president of one of the Hummer clubs. “No one could believe it.''

But most of the owners do not buy it for its off-road abilities. David Harris, sales manager of a Hummer dealership near Washington, said: "Most of the people who are buying the vehicle in this area are what we call successful achievers. They are using the H2 for pretty much every day use."

Many are females. “They like the size, the safety,'' said Ryan Cavanagh, product manager at Los Gatos Hummer

“You're up high. You feel very safe,'' one buyer, Sharon Andres, told . Andres of San José previously drove a Ford Explorer, but wanted something bigger, which led her to the H2.

A Hummer dealer in California said he normally sold about 70 H2s models a month, but in the week after the war in Iraq started he sold 32 units. Manager Tom Bowlin said he could understand the increase in demand. "Nothing screams American like driving a Hummer," he said.

But quite a few dealers are not comfortable as it appears they profiting from the war. But, Colorado dealer Stan Parsons told : "Obviously, any time you can get exposure like that, it can't hurt you.”