Saturn Announces Aura Green Line Hybrid Pricing

By: Lauren Woods

The General Motors Corporation's Saturn brand earlier announced the pricing of its new mild hybrid Aura Green Line - the second vehicle in the brand's product line that incorporates the automaker's belt alternator starter system. The manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of the hybrid will start at $22,695 which already does include the destination charge. As such, the vehicle will be the lowest-priced hybrid on the market for this year.

In addition to its value-focused price, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has certified that all Aura Green Line buyers will qualify for a tax credit of $1,300. "The Aura Green Line is a great value among the hybrids in the mid-size car segment," said Saturn General Manager Jill Lajdziak. "With a starting sticker price over $2,000 less than any mid-sized hybrid sedan and a $1,300 tax credit, it makes true hybrid fuel savings available to more people than ever before."

The Saturn Aura Green Line's EPA fuel economy rating of 28 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway reflects up to a 30 percent upgrading in EPA combined fuel economy compared to the non-hybrid Aura XE model. But ratings vary depending on driving conditions.

The Aura, which has been on sale since late March, is assembled at the GM's Fairfax Plant in Kansas City, Kan., and the Green Line hybrid models are rolling out at Saturn retail facilities. Like the VUE, the Aura Green Line is equipped with the 2.4L Ecotec engine that is blended to an electric motor and the 4T45-E four-speed automatic transmission. The powertrain is rated at 164 horsepower and 159 lbf&bullft of torque. The electric motor boosts the gasoline engine's performance during launch and under wide-open throttle.

The Aura Green Line's hybrid system combines refined controls with an upgraded electric motor blended to the engine. The system of the hybrid offers dramatic fuel economy gains by providing an electric power assist during acceleration, through early fuel cut-off during deceleration with torque smoothing. The system also shuts the engine when idle. Aside from this, Aura's system also captures electrical energy through regenerative braking.

Saturn's new hybrid sedan is based on the all-new Aura midsize sedan. The hybrid was given the 2007 North American Car of the Year award. The Green Line is equipped with comprehensive safety package that earned Aura five stars in government frontal and side-impact crash tests. Moreover, the hybrid is considered to be one of the safest vehicles available in the market.

Outstanding standard features of the Aura Green Line hybrid include the , a dual-stage front, side head-curtain and front-seat thorax protection air bags, the StabiliTrak electronic stability control, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, and GM's OnStar safety and security system.

The Aura Green Line is one of four hybrids that the automaker has announced. The 2007 Vue Green Line, which debuted last summer, offers the highest EPA estimated highway fuel economy of any SUV which reaches up to 32 mpg. In 2008, Saturn will offer the Vue Green Line with the first front-wheel-drive application of GM's new, 2-mode hybrid system that is expected to deliver up to a 45 percent improvement in combined city and highway fuel economy compared with the non-hybrid Vue.

A plug-in hybrid, which has the edge to double the fuel efficiency of any sport utility vehicle on the road, is in the works for the Vue. This hybrid SUV will offer an enhanced version of GM's 2-mode hybrid system and plug-in technology. When ready, a Lithium-ion battery pack, along with highly efficient electronics and powerful electric motors, will reach even greater fuel economy gains.

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