GM Debuts Cadillac DTS and Buick Lucerne at Chicago Auto Show
CHICAGO — At the Chicago Auto Show, Cadillac unveiled the new DTS large sedan, which will replace the DeVille. And GM's Buick brand is debuting a new flagship — the front-wheel-drive Lucerne — which will take the place of the LeSabre and Park Avenue, according to the Detroit News. "It's a further step in returning Buick to the role it once occupied in the U.S. market — that of GM's affordable luxury brand," said Bob Lutz, GM vice chairman for product development and chairman of GM North America.GM is attempting to position Buick as an American Lexus, Toyota Motor Co.'s luxury marque. The Lucerne and DTS go into production this summer at GM's Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant and arrive in showrooms in the fall. Pricing hasn't yet been announced. The Lucerne is the first Buick car in a decade to offer a V-8 engine and the first ever to offer magnetic ride control paired with StabiliTrak, GM's stability control system. The 4.6-liter, 32-valve, dual-overhead cam V-8 engine produces 275 horsepower. The Lucerne's standard engine is a 195-horsepower V-6.Last year, Buick introduced the LaCrosse, which essentially replaces the Century and Regal. Along with the LaCrosse and Lucerne, Buick's lineup has been broadened to include light trucks such as the Rainier sport/utility vehicle, Rendezvous crossover, and Terraza minivan. In sharp contrast to the past, when it only marketed cars, Buick's future sales are expected to be evenly split between cars and light trucks and crossovers.The 2006 Cadillac DTS replaces the DeVille, which has accounted for almost half of the sales in the full-size luxury car segment over the past 19 years. With the DTS, GM is "building on DeVille's deeply American character and classic strengths and bringing them more in line with Cadillac's design language of today," said Gary Cowger, president of GM North America. The front-wheel-drive luxury sedan rides on 17- or 18-inch wheels and is powered by GM's Northstar 4.6L V-8 engine and a four-speed automatic transmission. The Northstar engine is available in 290- and 275-horsepower configurations.The Lucerne and DTS will be equipped with the latest frontal airbags. The advanced airbags are capable of deploying in two different sizes and two different pressures, depending on where the seat is positioned, whether the seat belt is buckled and the severity of the crash. When only the small bag is needed, a tether will limit the airbag to the smaller size and release it to full size when it's appropriate. GM decided to start using the technology because "we cannot control where our customers will sit in our vehicles or every crash scenario they could encounter," said Robert Lange, GM executive director of structure and safety integration, in a statement.The Lucerne and DTS will also feature HotShot — a system by Microheat Inc. that heats windshield washer fluid to more quickly clear windshields and headlights of ice, snow, bugs and road grime.