The very first hybrid version of the very popular Toyota Camry has already been built and it has also already rolled off the Toyota Motors Corporation’s manufacturing plant which is located in Kentucky. This plant took in the task of creating and producing such a vehicle over a year ago and they have just recently completed the challenge. The Toyota plant in Kentucky is currently the largest factory of the company in area of North America.
Lonnie Miller, one of R. L. Polk & Co.’s industry analysts, interprets such an event by saying, “It just reinforces the fact that hybrids can go into any type of body style, and you can appeal to a broad market by putting it into a body style such as this.” R. L. Polk & Co. is actually a firm based in Michigan that works by collecting data from the automotive industry and later on analyzes and interprets them. Of course, with the industry now having another version of the high selling Toyota Camry, the Toyota Sienna parts manufacturer, Toyota, would also certainly be reaping in more sales. And it would also not be surprising if the hybrid version of the Camry would also be taking home a huge share of the hybrid vehicles market in the United States.
Steve St. Angelo is the current president of the Toyota plant in Kentucky. He does say, “To build Toyota’s first North American-made hybrid is quite an honor, and is a real tribute to our Kentucky work force.” Going back to the history of the company, the head honchos of Toyota had announced that they had chosen the Kentucky plant as the place to build the Toyota Camry hybrid. Aside from this, they have also informed the public that they are targeting to create 48,000 units of the previously mentioned hybrid vehicle per year. After all, the plant does have some 7,000 workers and employees plus its facilities and equipment is quite capable of producing 500,000 vehicles a year.
If you are interested in purchasing this hybrid version of the Toyota Camry, you would have to set aside some $25,900 to own one. This one has been created as a 2007 model year unit.
To challenge its closest rival, the Toyota Motor Co., General Motors Corp. plans to set forth the cheapest hybrid in the form of the Saturn Aura sedan in the United States. The hybrid sedan is aimed at fuel-conscious customers who want to enjoy affordability and efficiency in one car.
The hybrid version of the Saturn Aura comes with a starting price of $22,695 and it is $100 less than Toyota’s Prius hybrid. The vehicle will hit showrooms this month. The Saturn Aura will be the first hybrid sedan by an American car maker to be offered in the United States. Aura Green Line’s EPA fuel economy rating is rated 28 miles per gallon in the city and 35 mpg on the highway.
The Saturn Aura is equipped with GM’s belt alternator starter system, 2.4L Ecotec engine mated to an electric motor/generator and the 4T45-E four-speed automatic transmission and EBC brake rotors to bolster the performance of the car. It claims 30 percent improvement over the XE.
Aside from the affordability of the Aura, the purchasers are also entitled to a $1,300 tax break as part of the federal government’s initiative to encourage the purchase of environment-friendly hybrids. “It makes true hybrid fuel savings available to more people than ever before,” Saturn General Manager Jill Lajdziak said.
GM has pinned much of Saturn’s revitalization on the Aura, which has generated glowing reviews. The automaker, which does not disclose sales targets, has sold 7,898 Auras in the first two months of 2007. “Given the fact that the Aura is an absolutely first-rate, terrific vehicle,” said Joseph Phillippi of the AutoTrends Consulting in Short Hills, N.J., “it should do reasonably well.”
Realizing the boost of environment-friendly aspects for Toyota, which is already famed for its technologically-advanced product lines, GM endeavors to steal some of the positive hype. GM announcements were delivered on the eve of President Bush’s visit to its Fairfax Assembly Plant in Kansas City, Kan. The facility is responsible for the manufacture of Aura.
GM is also working on other hybrids other than Aura. According to GM, the production of the Volt, an all-electric car, is likely to start in 2010. The automaker is also planning to introduce other hybrids which will be using various types of technology.
The Saturn Aura is set to rival the Toyota Prius, by far the most well-liked hybrid in the United States with 107,000 units sold in 2006. Nevertheless, starting April, Toyota Prius owners will be eligible for only a $787 federal tax credit. This is because of the gradual reduction of the credit granted by the federal program. The tax credit will eventually be eliminated as more and more models are sold.
Despite the fact that gas-electric hybrid vehicles cost several thousand dollars greater than conventional models, they have lured customers due to fluctuating gas prices. Hybrids have conventional internal combustion engines and electric motors, which assist the gas engine.
By: Anthony Fontanelle
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