ANAHEIM, CA – Hummer joins General Motors Corp. Performance Div.’s efforts with the ’06 H1 Alpha, rolled out here at the California International Auto Show.

Featuring GM’s Duramax 6.6L diesel engine, the H1 Alpha packs a 300-hp punch, a 46% increase vs. previous H1s equipped with the 6.5L turbodiesel powerplant.

Arriving in dealerships in early 2005, the H1 Alpha is fitted with an Allison 1000 5-speed automatic transmission.

All commercial H1s produced for the ’06 model year will be H1 Alpha models – the first in Hummer’s new performance series. (See related story: Hummer Following Ambitious Brand Growth Strategy)

The H1 Alpha Hummer’s first performance model.

Hummer first disclosed plans for Alpha models in August 2002. (See related story: Hummer Adds Alpha Model Level )

In 2003, 730 H1s were sold, according to Ward’s.

H1s destined for military and fleet use will continue to use the 6.5L turbodiesel engine.

“Alpha represents Hummer performance taken to its ultimate extension,” says Susan Docherty, Hummer general manager. “That means improving Hummer’s already-unmatched off-road capability, along with enhancements to fuel efficiency and driving comfort on the road. As the original Hummer, the H1 is the perfect vehicle to mark the start of the Alpha series.”

AM General Corp. builds Hummer H1 and H2 vehicles for GM at its plants in Mishawaka, IN.

As was the case for previous H1s, the ’06 H1 Alpha will be offered in both open-top and wagon models.

Zero to 60 mph (97 km/h) acceleration improves by three seconds to 13.5 seconds, GM says. Vehicle range is expected to increase from 400 miles (643 km) to 570 miles (917 km), due to a more fuel-efficient engine and a larger fuel tank, GM claims.

Towing capacity has increased, brake rotors are larger and the halfshafts on each axle and the steering gear all have been bolstered to better manage the Alpha’s increased capabilities.

To accommodate the new dimensions of the engine and transmission, the body of the H1 Alpha is positioned 2 ins. (5 cm) higher than the previous H1.

There also are a few visual enhancements to the H1 Alpha.

The new Alpha shield logo appears on a badge just above the rear bumper, and a Duramax marque adorns the front left-side corner.

bcorbett@primediabusiness.com