Humber began volume car production in 1903 with a lightweight two-seater on a tubular chassis fitted with wire wheels and powered by a copy of a De Dion-Bouton single-cylinder engine. It was called the Humberette, a name that was a clever contraction of Humber and voiturette – this French term for a small car being quite familiar to British motorists. The vehicle was produced in both Humber's Beeston and Coventry factories, the former making cars to a higher specification and priced at 15 Guineas above the 125 Guineas for the Coventry cars. In January 1904 The Motor reported: "since August last, Humber … have built no less than 500 of their 5hp two-seated cars".
For 1904 a 6½hp version was introduced and among other things this benefited from a three-speed gearbox. With the controls grouped around the steering column topped by a distinctive single-spoke steering wheel, the cars were easy to manage, of lively performance, and deservedly popular. They are also notable for being the first volume-produced British motorcars.