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Chicago Auto Show Concludes Successful 10-Day Run

The Chicago Auto Show wrapped a successful 10-day run, and show organizers announced an attendance bump over last year - despite a record-breaking warmth that had many Chicagoans enjoying the outdoors.

Taking center stage at the 109th edition of the Chicago Auto Show were more than 20 vehicles that made their world debut, including Chevrolet Redline editions; Dodge Durango SRT; Ford Expedition; Hyundai Elantra GT; Mitsubishi Outlander Sport; Mopar '17 Challenger; Nissan Midnight Editions; Nissan TITAN King Cabs; Ram 1500 Copper Sport and 2500/3500 Night; Toyota RAV4 Adventure; TRD Sport editions of the Toyota Tundra and Sequoia; Subaru Legacy; and Volkswagen Atlas Weekend Edition concept.

The nation's largest auto show grew by 55,000 square feet this year - 75,000 square feet total in just two years - with every volume automaker on display in a big way. Porsche doubled its exhibit footprint and Ram and Mercedes-Benz added indoor test tracks - growing the total number of indoor test tracks to five. Returning tracks includes Toyota's Highlander and RAV4 track, Fiat Chrysler Automobile's City Drive track and Camp Jeep. Additionally, Ford, Kia, Mazda and Subaru hosted outdoor test drives.

Adding to the 2017 Chicago Auto Show success story, show organizers streamlined the way show-goers received vehicle information with a new initiative called epass. Attendees could activate their show ticket at kiosks or with product specialists or generate their epass on the mobile app. Using epass, attendees received vehicle information, entered contests and participated in ride-and-drives with a simple swipe.

"It's predicted that 50,000 leads go missing on the show floor," said Chicago Auto Show Chairman Mike McGrath. "Therefore, we launched epass at the 2017 show to provide a solution to reduce attendee fatigue. The response was incredible; people loved the fact that they could receive vehicle information on demand and the product specialists were thrilled that they could spend their time talking about the vehicles on display instead collecting information. It was a win-win for both parties." 

Widely known as the "consumer auto show," industry experts claim that the Chicago Auto Show ignites car sales - not just regionally, but for the nation. Over the past two years, auto sales have hit a record high; 2016 marked the eighth consecutive full-year increase following the Great Recession with a total of more than 17 million vehicles sold.

"We're extremely positive about the future of our auto show," said McGrath. "As long as we continue to keep our focus on the consumer, we can only win."

Along the lines of engaging with show attendees, show organizers took advantage of the masses to harness the power of new technology and social media. The show again provided free, high-speed Wi-Fi to all attendees and engaged fans via its official mobile app. Fans who downloaded the mobile app had a chance to win $20,000 toward a two-year lease on a Buick Envision or a GMC Acadia.

The Chicago Auto Show also engaged fans via its social media channels, reaching millions. During the Media Preview, manufacturer press conferences were streamed live on the Chicago Auto Show Facebook page and the show's #CAS17 was again a top-trending hashtag on Twitter. 

Another successful indicator of the 2017 show actually started with the event held the evening before the public show doors opened: the Chicago Auto Show's First Look for Charity black-tie gala, one of Chicago's finest single-day fundraisers. This year's gala set a new record and raised more than $3 million for 18 local charities. Since its inception in 2008, nearly $50 million has been raised to support local charities.

Planning is already underway for the 110th edition of the Chicago Auto Show. The 2018 show will remain a 10-day public show, opening on Saturday, Feb. 10 and running through Monday, Feb. 19 - to take advantage of the Presidents Day holiday. The 2018 Media Preview will be Feb. 8-9, and First Look for Charity will be Friday, Feb. 9, 2018.

To obtain press releases, high resolution images, b-roll or more information on the 2017 Chicago Auto Show, please visit

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