News & Events

A Full Complement of Compliments

Paul Brian
Director of Communications
Chicago Auto Show

A strong Chicago Auto Show is good for the entire industry

"If you ask, 'Was the show a success?' what other answer would you expect from us?" said 2007 Chicago Auto Show Chairman Terry D'Arcy. "But the best part is that we don't have to make anything up at all. Telling the truth about something that was truly successful makes the recap a simple task.

"All auto shows benefit the automotive industry," continued D'Arcy. "To take ownership of one particular show as more important than another is antithetical to the entire premise of benefit to the industry and its dealers. All shows benefit the industry-dealers, manufacturers, labor and suppliers alike. The quicker everyone understands that, the more effective each exposition becomes for the industry, and isn't that why auto shows are staged?

"What we do here in Chicago is raise the tide for all auto shows and hope they all rise to our level," said CATA chairman and auto show co-chairman Bob Loquercio. "We're blessed that we have the undisputed best facility anywhere with a world-class city surrounding it, but that benefits everyone, whether they're from Japan, Germany, the United States or Korea. We clearly lead the continent in our ability to best showcase what the industry is doing."

The best part, though, is that while organizers of the Chicago Auto Show can rightfully be proud of their show, they don't have to go any further than the media who cover the show, and executives whose products are displayed, to find a flurry of accolades.

Perhaps more than any other writings about Chicago and its show, William Jeanes' column in Automotive News summed up the feelings we've heard before.

Jeanes wrote: "If the auto show circuit were a Boeing 747, Chicago would occupy the entire first-class and business-class sections, leaving Detroit, New York and Los Angeles to squeeze into the coach section and squabble over the peanuts. Were ("Chicago Plan" Architect Daniel) Burnham alive today, he would endorse the plan I now propose:

"First, remove the adjective "international" from the New York, Detroit and Los Angeles shows and return them to regional, dealer-based shows.

"That done, hold our national auto supershow in Chicago at McCormick Place and make it a show that fills us all with pride, a show that requires no excuse making.

"A major international auto show requires two things: a proper venue and numerous introductions of production and concept cars. The industry, as it has shown, can hold its introductions wherever it chooses; the venue advantage is tipped heavily toward the Windy City.

For those who don't regularly read Automotive News, a reprint of Jeanes' column accompanies this Wrapup newsletter.

In a WWJ radio interview, Ford's executive vice president and president, The Americas, Mark Fields expressed his feelings about the Chicago show when he said, "This is my first Chicago Auto Show, and I'm amazed at the facility here, not only in size, but the how it's kept up. It really responses to the users needs, as us being the exhibitors.  So it allows us to take more space...allows customers, particularly given the volume of people that come through the show to be more comfortable, and I think that's a real important piece of success in any auto show." 

Also heard on WWJ was the Detroit Auto Dealers Association's (producers of the Detroit Auto show) Doug Fox. He told reporter Jeff Gilbert, "Well, you see some very unique things here (in Chicago), Jeff.  Obviously with the space they have, they are able to do things like these test tracks that Jeep and Dodge have, where consumers can actually ride in a vehicle at the show and experience the handling and the breaking capabilities of the vehicle, that's something we can't do.  You see a lot of very large commercial vehicles here that we don't display in Detroit.  I'm sure you noticed the dump trucks, the utility bed vehicles and that sort of thing.  So you know this is a huge facility, it's 1 million 6, I believe someone mentioned today, and we have 700-a little over 700,000 (sq. ft.). Certainly, we need we need some more space."

Chrysler Vice President of Sales Mike Manley said, "...When you look at different venues like Detroit and Chicago and around the motor shows around the rest of the country, venues come in all sorts of different shapes and different sizes, but we now have a lineup across our brands that is around 30+ vehicles, when you look forward, and when you hear that number of vehicles, particularly as many as them playing in unique segments, that we haven't been in the past, obviously what we want to try and do is display them to their best, so that customers can get around and get a look and feel of them, so this venue helps us with that."

The most talked-about group in the industry, Toyota/Lexus/Scion continued their love affair with the Windy City. Senior Vice President of Automotive Operations Don Esmond reiterated that last year "We unveiled the all-new Tundra in Chicago...the official kick-off of the single-most important launch in Toyota's 50-year history." 

Those are the kind of endorsements that are making other manufacturers sit up and take notice that the momentum has clearly shifted to Chicago and its abilities to deliver on time and on budget.

In a post-show survey of media attending the show, more than 92 percent of media said that the show was worth making time on their calendar to cover; 91 percent agreed that they look forward to the show and its news content.  The media also scored us well with overwhelming approval of the show's media preview; news conference content and scheduling; media center facilities; and executive availabilities.

"No matter how many accolades we're given, we're not going to sit still," said Jerry Cizek, Chicago Auto Show general manager. "We learn from every show how to do things better and more cost-efficiently. We know that dollars are tight in the industry, so Chicago provides each exhibitor the ability to do more with their budgets than they can in other venues. Additionally, the sheer size of McCormick Place allows them to not only stretch their budgets, but their creativity. It's an awesome combination that's unmatched anywhere else."


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