UMM (União Metalo-Mecânica)
UMM is a Portuguese metal works factory and ex-automobile manufacturer based in Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 545,245 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3 million on an area of , making it the 9th most populous urban...

, Portugal. It was founded in 1977 with the purpose of manufacturing four-wheel drive
Four-wheel drive
Four-wheel drive, 4WD, or 4×4 is a four-wheeled vehicle with a drivetrain that allows all four wheels to receive torque from the engine simultaneously...

 vehicles for agricultural, industrial and utility applications.


The UMM 4x4 design is derived from a prototype created by the French engineering firm Cournil
Bernard Cournil was a French vehicle maker who progressed from improving other people’s vehicles to manufacturing his own during the late 1950s. Rights to manufacture his design were subsequently held by a succession of businesses in Portugal after the French creator of the vehicle had disappeared...

, called Entrepreneur. The Cournil Entrepreneur's building rights were acquired by the Portuguese company União Metalo-Mecânica, part of the Mocar group and were renamed as UMM.

They became known for their reliability, especially when in a Paris-Dakar rally the team was able to finish with all the cars that started. Many UMMs are still in use by utilities in Spain, Portugal, Cape Verde
Cape Verde
The Republic of Cape Verde is an island country, spanning an archipelago of 10 islands located in the central Atlantic Ocean, 570 kilometres off the coast of Western Africa...

 (in use by the national army) and France and also by the "Guarda Nacional Republicana" (Portuguese Gendarmerie
A gendarmerie or gendarmery is a military force charged with police duties among civilian populations. Members of such a force are typically called "gendarmes". The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary describes a gendarme as "a soldier who is employed on police duties" and a "gendarmery, -erie" as...

), fire service and military, although the majority of their customers were private individuals. Around 700 UMMs are still in service in the Republic of the Congo (Zaire). They are also popular in France and Angola
Angola, officially the Republic of Angola , is a country in south-central Africa bordered by Namibia on the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the north, and Zambia on the east; its west coast is on the Atlantic Ocean with Luanda as its capital city...


UMM stopped building the UMM Alter II for private customers in 1994, but kept on taking large orders from military and utility services until 1996. Custom orders are no longer accepted. It is suspected that more than 10.000 UMMs were made.

The most famous UMM is probably the one that transported Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II
Blessed Pope John Paul II , born Karol Józef Wojtyła , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of Vatican City from 16 October 1978 until his death on 2 April 2005, at of age. His was the second-longest documented pontificate, which lasted ; only Pope Pius IX ...

 in one of his visits to Portugal.

An updated version was announced in 2000, powered by a 2.1 L Turbo Diesel engine. This engine was less noisy and had more torque at low speed. Several options were available, including air conditioning
Air conditioning
An air conditioner is a home appliance, system, or mechanism designed to dehumidify and extract heat from an area. The cooling is done using a simple refrigeration cycle...

 and GPS
Global Positioning System
The Global Positioning System is a space-based global navigation satellite system that provides location and time information in all weather, anywhere on or near the Earth, where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites...

. Price was meant to be lower to a Land Rover Defender with similar finishings. However, the company had no capital to invest in its development.

Recently the distribution of spare parts for the UMM vehicles was outsourced to the company Europeças, Europeças.

Vehicle Models

  • UMM 4x4 Cournil
    UMM 4x4 Cournil
    The UMM 4x4 Cournil was launched by the Portuguese UMM car maker in 1977. It was designed by the French engineer, Bernard Cournil mainly for agricultural and industrial issues. It was powered by an Indenor-Peugeot 2.1 L Diesel engine matched to a 4-speed Manual gearbox made also by Peugeot. The...

  • UMM 4x4
    UMM 4x4
    In 1979 UMM launches a new restyling of the UMM 4x4 Cournil with the same 2.1 Litre Diesel engine. It left the Cournil designation and was available with new equipments. There was only one trim: the Entrepreneur....

  • UMM Alter 4x4
    UMM Alter 4x4
    1985 saw the arrival of a new UMM car, the Alter 4x4, which featured a 2.5 litre diesel engine.-External links:* * *...

  • UMM Alter II
    UMM Alter II
    UMM Alter II Phase IIn 1986 the Alter II was released by the Portuguese automobile manufacturer União Metalo-Mecânica . It featured a new 4-speed manual gearbox, a new transfer case and a new suspension. The engine remained the same 2.5-litre diesel engine which developed 76 PS...

  • UMM Alter 2000
    UMM Alter 2000
    In the year 2000, UMM launches a new version of the Alter, the Alter 2000. With a new 2.1 Turbo Diesel engine made by Peugeot, this engine was more quiet, fuel efficient and torquey. Also the suspension, the brakes system and interior were revisioned. It was available in several trims and chassis...


Notable Versions

  • UMM Alter “Papamobile”
  • UMM Alter A4 11 (To be called Alter III - Only three prototypes were made, only one is road legal)


  • The UMM Alter is named after a well-known Portuguese horse breed.
  • Most of the known Portuguese off-road drivers started their careers driving UMMs.

External links

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