With the addition of the 2005 RELAY, Saturn continues to grow its brand while maintaining its focus on bringing incremental business to General Motors. A crossover sport van that combines SUV-like styling with the functionality of a mid-van, RELAY reinforces Saturn's commitment to offer a family of vehicles that fill the needs of diverse customers. The crossover sport van will be the first Saturn vehicle to seat seven, and joins the small-car ION sedan and coupe, the L300 midsize sedan and wagon and the VUE compact sport utility truck in the expanding Saturn portfolio.
"The RELAY is the next logical step in Saturn's growth," said Jill Lajdziak, Saturn vice president for sales, service and marketing. "The Saturn brand promises of safety and value fit naturally with what customers are looking for in the mid-van segment. It will appeal particularly to those customers who need the versatility of a mid-van but have a strong preference for SUV styling."
Targeting existing and new owners
The new entry will help Saturn meet the needs of existing Saturn owners with growing families and active lifestyles. The RELAY also will help Saturn attract a new group of customers, since 50 percent of purchasers in the segment are first-time mid-van buyers. One of Saturn's strategies will be to intercept these first-time buyers, especially the 40 percent of first-time mid-van buyers who select an import brand. The RELAY also will be attractive to current mid-van owners who are considering leaving the segment for SUV styling.
Targeting import buyers is an important part of Saturn's role to bring "plus" business to GM - customers who otherwise would have bought an import or another non-GM brand. Approximately 70 percent of Saturn buyers list a non-GM make as their second choice. Import mid-van buyers on average are younger and more affluent; more than 70 percent have children under age 16, vs. approximately 50 percent for domestic mid-van buyers.
Like all Saturn products, the RELAY will be sold and serviced through an award-winning network of retailers who are recognized industry leaders in taking care of customers.
Clean, contemporary looks
The RELAY's exterior is recognizably Saturn - clean and contemporary, complementing its sturdy, SUV-like stance. RELAY looks efficient, the "smart choice" for its import-oriented customers.
Wide, prominent, exposed C-pillars - an SUV styling cue - reinforces the RELAY's strong, durable look. Large 17-inch wheels and wide tires also contribute to a sturdy, aggressive SUV-like stance.
RELAY has a horizontal front grille treatment, with an approximately 2-inch bumper offset. Picking up a visual cue from the VUE, the RELAY's ebony-colored lower cladding carries through the rockers then turns and flows up into the taillamps, uniting the fascia with the taillamps in a way that creates a tighter-looking overall package.
The optional roof rack completes the picture. This uniquely designed sport rack has tubular-shaped, satin finish side rails, which gives the vehicle a rugged, purposeful stance.
The RELAY will be available in two trim levels. The base RELAY features standard 17-inch steel wheels with a composite center bolt-on disc, with a six-spoke design and the Saturn emblem in the middle. The uplevel RELAY has six-spoke bright silver painted aluminum wheels that feature Saturn's emblem.
The RELAY's refined interior appointments elevate the design and the appeal of the vehicle. The styling is clean and contemporary, with close attention to fit and finish.
RELAY features a sporty three-spoke steering wheel, its ebony rim and center trim matching the upper part of the instrument panel and the upper door trim. Its horn pad features Saturn's logo. Base RELAY models have a urethane steering wheel, while uplevel RELAY models have a leather-wrapped steering wheel with redundant audio controls.
The RELAY uses a unique light maple color wood grain for its radio and HVAC trim plate and on the door switch plates. RELAY interiors are available in an ebony upper / medium gray lower color combination and an ebony upper / medium cashmere lower combination.
The base RELAY's seats feature cloth inserts with bolsters made of a new "protein" vinyl that provides leather-like look, feel and wear. The "protein" vinyl also is used for door trim. Leather-appointed seats are available with the uplevel RELAY.
The base RELAY is a well-equipped model, with standard features including power heated outside mirrors; an AM/FM stereo with CD/MP3 player and six speakers; power windows and locks; remote keyless entry; front passenger visor vanity mirror; and an overhead rail system for accessory storage modules. The uplevel RELAY adds body-color door handles; a six-way power driver's seat; rear HVAC controls; and a convenience package that includes a cargo area storage module, floor mats, power rear quarter windows, illuminated visor vanity and a theft-deterrent system.
Focus on safety
From its inception, Saturn has been committed to the idea that safety isn't just for customers who can afford a luxury vehicle. The RELAY continues this tradition.
For example, the RELAY's 3500 V-6 engine reduces emissions of NOx, HC and CO with a number of technologies, including an advanced powertrain control module, close-coupled catalytic converter, Quick Sync 24X ignition, returnless fuel rail and a fast-response oxygen sensor.
In addition, all-new extended-life brake linings, aided by better brake cooling, reduce servicing and save the disposal of tens of thousands of brake parts yearly for every model year of production. Also, the RELAY's advanced Class II electrical architecture reduces wires, splices, connectors and weight. This streamlined design requires approximately 350 feet less wiring per vehicle and will save tens of thousands of pounds yearly in disposal at the end of the product's life.