2007 Saturn Aura XR
Click image for squeaky-clean photo-gallery

The International Carwash Association (International? Who knew?) has named the Saturn Aura the Most Washable Car of 2007. A variety of criteria are used to determine the winner each year, but predictably, items like securely mounted antennas and wipers, flush-mount trim pieces, sleek body lines, and folding mirrors are among those that the judges look for when making the selection (the complete list is in the release pasted after the jump).

The Aura was the car that fit the bill this year, and as luck would have it, we photographed our Autoblog Garage Aura XR test car as it passed through the wash last year. So, enjoy the suddenly-appropriate gallery of the Aura getting cleaned up in honor of its new award. We won't mention that our car lost its little XM sharkfin antenna cover during the depicted scrubdown. Oops! I guess we just did! (No worries: we got it back a short time later, so the story has a happy ending.) Now, we assume Saturn will also be making duplicates of its washing award and shipping them to various Aura owners like it has done with its trophy for 2007 North American Car of the Year. Hey, a win's a win.

[Source: International Carwash Association]
Related GalleryThe Autoblog Garage Saturn Aura gets washed


PRESS RELEASE:
International Carwash Association Names Saturn Aura Most Washable Car of 2007

LAS VEGAS, March 26 /PRNewswire/ -- The International Carwash Association (ICA) named the Saturn Aura as the Most Washable Car 2007 today at the Car Care World Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada. The annual award acknowledges the vehicle that car wash operators consider the most wash-friendly car of the year.

The honor is a critical distinction in the car care industry as research shows that nearly $24 billion a year is spent battling automobile corrosion damage. With the number of consumers keeping their cars longer, this award is an important nod to Saturn's dedication to designing cars that are easier for car owners to maintain.

"The sleek, European lines which give the Aura its visual appeal, also make it easier to keep clean," said Lisa Hutchinson, director of brand and product development for Saturn. "We took great pride in the attention to detail and quality of the Aura, because we know that Saturn owners take great pride in their vehicles."

The International Carwash Association members considered the following criterion for choosing the Most Washable Car:

-- Smooth aerodynamic lines that do not catch and retain dirt
-- Moldings and ornamentation that do not protrude and are securely
attached
-- Bumpers, mirrors, wipers, etc. that are securely attached
-- Radio antennas that are securely attached or are hidden in the
windshield or back window glass
-- Retractable side view mirrors that are robust at the pivot or mirrors
that do not retract at all
-- Ground affects and desk lid spoilers that are aerodynamic and securely
attached or do not exist
-- Windshield wipers that are concealed under the rear edge of the hood
-- Rear window wipers on Sport-Utility vehicles that do not protrude
-- Front license plate attachments (when required) are secure and are not
susceptible to damage

"Keeping your car clean certainly helps its appearance, but it also contributes to its long-term condition and value," said Mark Thorsby, International Carwash Association executive director. "Our members recognize the Saturn Aura as a vehicle that washes easily professionally, therefore contributing to its preservation."

The biggest car-finish culprits include the corrosive mixture of sand and salt on roads, pollutants from rain fall, bird droppings, road grime and tree sap. They can harm a car finish if not removed in just a couple of days. According to a survey by the International Carwash Association, more than half of all car owners wash their cars less than once a month, and 16 percent say they never wash their cars. And, once kids ride in a vehicle, food is reported as the number one leave-behind odor, followed by sweat and old shoes.

The International Carwash Association is a non-profit trade association serving 3,000 businesses in the United States, Canada and overseas. Membership includes car wash operators, equipment manufacturers, distributors, and related suppliers. ICA members represent approximately 25,000 car wash and car care locations in North America. The ICA provides facts on car care at http://www.carlove.org/.