Merging into future transportation

2013-02-08T00:00:00Z Merging into future transportationJim Jackson Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
February 08, 2013 12:00 am  • 

If you feel the sense of déjà vu walking into Chicago's McCormick Place South during the next 10 days, you're not alone.

That sensation will greet throngs of visitors starting Saturday through Feb. 18 as they begin their journey into the largest new car exhibition in the country, the 2013 Chicago Auto Show.

This year’s show reflects the grandeur of Chicago’s auto spectacle early last decade when McCormick’s 1 million square-foot exhibition floor was packed wall-to-wall with rolling sheet metal masterpieces that took people's breath away.

“We contend that the Chicago Auto Show is the best attended auto show in the nation,” says Dave Sloan, president of the Chicago Automobile Trade Association. “If we can put our best out on the stand and it is warmly received by consumers in Chicago, you know you’ve got a hit.”

Chicago Auto Show’s enormous floor space gives automakers the ability to bring more vehicles for display, allowing visitors the chance to see and examine multiple trim levels of any particular model side by side.

“Space is a luxury of the Chicago Auto Show. People attending don’t feel crowded and have a great opportunity to get a good look at the entire product line of any given brand. Many manufacturers have their biggest displays in Chicago – more than any other show in the world.” he said.

Coming attractions

This year’s Chicago Auto Show blows the doors off the exotic car display at the Comcast Business Class “Super Car Garage” with more than twice the space and added nameplates than last year’s show.

Visitors will trill at an up-close look of such exotic brands as Aston Martin, Bentley, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Lotus, Maserati, McLaren and Rolls-Royce. The Italian-built Bugatti also is expected to make an appearance.

This year’s show brings more interactive displays to the floor, giving attendees hands-on experience of automakers’ new-wave technology and electronics.

“It is so important for consumers to be able to sit in a display to use and compare different technologies. People need to know whether it works for them and if they are able to interact with all the various electronics that are available in today’s cars,” Sloan said.

Special purpose-built kiosks, stands and simulators are found throughout manufacturer’s exhibits for attendees to experience and enjoy.

Sloans said that the notion of Generation Y and Millennial individuals showing a lack of interest in automobiles is not the case at the Chicago Auto Show, as the event outperforms the market by 50 percent with that demographic.

“The Chicago Auto Show is a great place for automakers and automotive marketers to meet those people that they’re having so much trouble getting in touch with," he said. "The show’s hands-on interactive electronic displays help make that connection.”

Tracking the drive

Credit the size of the show floor space for the return of Test Tracks to the 2013 Chicago Auto Show for patron participation offered by six different automotive brands.

Chrysler Group is among the largest with over 130,000 square feet of vehicle displays and test track facilities including Jeep brand’s popular real-time “Camp Jeep” off-road simulation.

Participants get a seat-of-the-pants ride experience in various new Jeep models as professional drivers navigate the Jeep in four-wheel drive over obstacles that only a capable 4x4 can muster. It’s a 3-mph thrill-ride they won’t forget.

At every turn, attendees of this year’s auto show will get more than a glimpse of the future. They will see the world of tomorrow’s transportation – today.

Over the next 10 days, global automakers will roll out the red carpet for you.

Join them for a relaxed stroll through the expansive halls of McCormick Place South for a first-hand look at the direction transportation is taking America this model year and beyond - all under one roof at the 2013 Chicago Auto Show.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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