Media News

Chicago Auto Show Set for its 99th Edition


Paul Brian
Director of Communications
Chicago Auto Show

OAKBROOK TERRACE, Ill; Jan. 26... For automotive fans, those shopping for basic transportation, those wanting to attend an elegant formal night out, or those looking for a great way to spend an evening or weekend day downtown, the Chicago Auto Show fits the bill.

That's the way it's been since 1901 when the show was first staged and it resumes Feb. 9 when the show's 2007 edition opens on the biggest show floor in the nation. The exposition runs through Feb. 18 at McCormick Place on Chicago's magnificent lakefront.

"The auto show is so many things to so many different people," said 2007 Auto Show Chairman Terry D'Arcy. "Whether a showgoer is actively in the market for a new vehicle and wants to comparison shop, passively in the market and just obvserving, or a family in need of a wholesome place to visit on a gray winter's day, the Chicago Auto Show delivers.

"The show has traditionally been a significant driving force in the spring selling season for dealers," continued D'Arcy. "But it has residual effects long beyond the springtime. Six months after it closes, we'll often hear customers mention the auto show as the reason they've come to see a new vehicle."

The 99th edition of the show will open its doors daily from 10 a.m.-10 p.m., excepting closing day, when the curtain will fall at 8 p.m.

The Chicago Auto Show, recognized as an global event by the International Automobile Manufacturers Organization (OICA), has been staged more times than any other auto show. It has long been viewed by manufacturers as the nation's most important consumer exposition due to the massive crowds, magnificent displays, and ease of availability in a world-class city.

"More than 10 percent of those attending the auto show travel more than 100 miles to get here," commented Bob Loquercio, chairman of the Chicago Automobile Trade Association (CATA), which has produced the event since 1935. "I'm not surprised. Chicago's worldwide status as a destination city with incredible hotels, restaurants, shopping and museums make it a natural for those wishing to escape for a weekend. Having the nation's most magnificent auto show open spanning two weekends fits right in to their plans."

"The Chicago Auto Show visitor gets an advantage due to the timing of the show," said Jerry Cizek, the show's general manager. "Our customers get to view everything the industry has put on the plate over the past few months plus more than 20 world and North American introductions of new vehicles unveiled here in the Windy City. They're total winners."
Where the Action Is!
When you have the nation's biggest show floor, you'd better have the nation's best displays to go on it, and Chicago rolls out product like nowhere else.

"For many of the manufacturers, Chicago is the biggest display they build anywhere in the world," said Loquercio. "There's a good reason for that. First, we have the room for them to build whatever their imagination can conjur up, and second, they know when they build big here, the response will come back accordingly.
Chicago has the world's biggest fully indoor test track, staged again this year by the Chrysler Group (Dodge, Jeep and Chrysler), where everything from acceleration to hill-climbing ability is showcased. This year they kick it up a notch with an indoor version of the bane of Chicagoland winter driving: Low-traction ice and snow driving. Stop by and see what experiential marketing is all about.

The big screen TVs you've purchased for the Super Bowl might seem big to you, but at the auto show, look for screens that aren't 60 inches-look for screens that are 60 feet! Why? To draw more attention to the displays and sing out the message, each brighter and more exciting than the last. It's an astounding kaleidoscope of color, sound, metal, rubber, glass and imagination that's unmatched anywhere in the automotive world.

More than 20 world and North American introductions are scheduled for Chicago's show.

"World introductions are vehicles never-before-seen anywhere," said D'Arcy. "It's a testament to the power and impact this show has on consumers and the incredible media attention it garners. Whether the new product is a flashy concept vehicle that might give a peek far into the future or a soon-to-be-built production vehicle that will be in dealership showrooms in the next few months, those attending the Chicago Auto Show will be able to say they were among the first to see it-and then wish for it in their driveway."
Best of Show Competition (What's Chicago without voting?)
Because of the vast number of show patrons who are attracted to McCormick Place over the show's 10-day run, a competition to render a verdict from the ultimate judges-consumers-was initiated at the 2006 show. Called "Best of Show," the judging gives those wishing to participate a voice in what they thought was the coolest iron in the house.

Consumers will be able to have their voices heard and have their favorite vehicles credited as they vote for the following categories: Best All New Production Vehicle; Best Exhibit; Best Chicago Auto Show World Introduction; Best Concept Vehicle; and Vehicle I Most Want To See In My Driveway.

During the show's media preview, a panel of automotive media will narrow down the options from more than 1,000 vehicles on display to ten finalists for the voters to consider in four of the five categories.

Participating in the 2007 Best of Show awards is easy. Polling places will be provided at various locations on the show floor and on the show's Web site.  Showgoers will have the opportunity to vote at the show via text message or online at: 

How did the competition turn out last February? There were tight and hot competitions between the new Camaro and Challenger concepts with the Chevy narrowly beating out the MoPar as the most driveway-desirable car for Chicagoans. Best All-New Production Vehicle? That honor went to the sleek Shelby Mustang GT500.
Best World Intro? The awesome Dodge Rampage pickup. Want the rest of the results? Check them out and see the pictures of them on

Auto show officials are quick to point out that you won't get a new garbage can in your alley when you support a particular car on the ballot.
First Look for Charity
Before the show opens to the public, those wishing to take in the show with a more elegant touch can opt to attend First Look for Charity, the show's black-tie preview that benefits 19 local charitable organizations. First Look will be held this year on Thursday evening, Feb. 8 from 6:30-10-30 p.m. on the show floor.

Abundant hors d'oeuveres, wine, champagne, soft drinks and considerably fewer people on the show floor than will be present just a day later make First Look an appealing proposition.

"The event has grown over the past 15 years into one of Chicagoland's most popular social events," said Terry D'Arcy. "It's a strong statement to our area that the 650 franchised new-car dealers of Chicagoland want to give back to their communities. Last year, more than $2.5 million was raised in a single night.

Additionally, three attendees will win big: a 2007 GMC Acadia, a 2007 Hyundai Azera or a 2007 Volkswagen GTI.

The all-new Acadia is GMC's first crossover SUV, offering seating for up to eight and combining the capability of an SUV and agile, car-like driving attributes. Acadia is powered by GM's 3.6L V-6 engine and is available in front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive models.

First unveiled for the 2006 model year, the 2007 Azera returns with even more luxury and safety features, to further define how consumers think about premium sedans. With the perfect combination of comfort, room and power, the Azera delivers on Hyundai's promise of superior safety and value.

The 2007 GTI combines the model's traditional styling cues with decidedly modern, cutting edge technology and performance. The result is a modern classic offering a complete package of performance, comfort and safety, destined to reclaim the GTI's rightful spot at the top of the sport compact pecking order.

The Acadia is offered compliments of General Motors, GMC Division, and Chicagoland and northwest Indiana GMC dealers. The Azera compliments of Hyundai Motor America and Chicagoland and northwest Indiana Hyundai dealers. The VW GTI is compliments of Chicagoland Volkswagen dealers.

Those wishing to purchase tickets in advance may do so by calling 630-424-1636 or online at 
Benefiting charities:
* Advocate Hope Children's Hospital
* American Lung Association of Metropolitan Chicago  
* Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago  
* Campagna Academy  
* Cancer Health Alliance of Metropolitan Chicago  
* Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago  
* Catholic Charities, Diocese of Joliet  
* Children's Memorial Hospital  
* Clearbrook  
* The Cradle Foundation  
* Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America  
* Cure Autism Now Foundation  
* Franciscan Sisters of Chicago Service Corporation  
* Ray Graham Association for People with Disabilities  
* Illinois Spina Bifida Association  
* Ronald McDonald House Charities  
* Misericordia Heart of Mercy  
* National Multiple Sclerosis Society  
* St. Coletta's of Illinois Foundation  
Appearances and Special Days
Since the Fifties, when auto shows made a return to the scene after a WWII hiatus, Chicago's show was the biggest stage anywhere upon which auto makers could tout their new products. Stage, sports and Hollywood luminaries, and even a future President of the United States, came to draw attention to displays and new vehicles.

"We have a deep history of photographs showing everyone from Ronald Reagan to Sammy Davis, Jr. to Jack Nicklaus to Mercury's Chauncey the Cougar at the show," said Jerry Cizek, the show's general manager. "The names have obviously changed, but these days it's not unusual to see many Chicago and national sports and entertainment personalities on the show floor.

"Last year we saw a terrific lineup of guests, including a host of Chicago Bulls, Bears and World Champion White Sox players, racing legend Mario Andretti, Earvin "Magic" Johnson, and even Chicago culinary magician Rick Bayless. We want everyone to enjoy those appearances and they'll be able to find an ongoing schedule in the show's Web site.

Putting Your Arms Around it All Via the Net With Two Web sites

Those who visit will find two advantages: It's where you can purchase and print your Chicago Auto Show tickets online in the comfort of your own home.  More importantly, the portal Web site will give those who have been to the show the best site possible for doing purchase research. carries the entire new- and used-car inventories of every CATA member dealership, making it the preferred place to post-show shop.

"In an age when the world is connected via the Internet, we strongly recommend use of the incredibly functional and beautifully designed Web site for more information," concluded Show Chairman Terry D'Arcy. "Whether it's show hours, history, public transportation schedules and routes, floor maps, games or any of a hundred other topics, you'll find it online.

"We welcome everyone to the nation's biggest auto show and hope that no matter how you choose to 'use' the show, know that we've worked hard to make it a great day at an awesome show in an even better city. 

"Illinois residents and especially Chicagoans can be proud that we have the continent's undisputed best convention center in McCormick Place, and for 10 days in February they're able to view the nation's best auto show set up inside it."

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