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“When we started up social media for this year’s show I couldn’t believe the response from Northwest Indiana,” said David Sloan, general manager of the Chicago Auto Show. “I think it’s easier to get here from Northwest Indiana than it is for people in Illinois. You can hop on the South Shore Line as far away as South Bend. The train pulls right into McCormick Place and you’re steps away.”

The 107th Chicago Auto Show, the largest Auto Show in the nation, kicks off on Saturday February 14th at 9:00 am. The show runs for nine days through Sunday February 22nd. “Four of those are weekend days and one is the President’s Day holiday, so there’s plenty of opportunity,” said Sloan, who is also president of the Chicago Automobile Trade Association, the organization that has been producing the Chicago Auto Show since 1935.

With over a million square feet of floor space dedicated to the show, you will be able to see over 1000 vehicles on display. “We have so much room we’re able to do things here they can’t do other places,” said Sloan. “Manufacturers bring multiple variations of models so you can truly compare. Our three indoor test tracks are back. The Jeep test track is the most popular. Then the Chrysler multi-brand track, and Toyota. There will also be six outdoor driving opportunities where you can get behind the wheel with Toyota, Scion, Subaru, Kia, Mazda, and the Ford F-150.”

Chicago is also the place where manufacturers will make news, introducing several new vehicles to the world for the first time during the media preview on February 12th and 13th. “There will be between ten and fifteen significant debuts,” Sloan explained. “We’ll see the 2016 Honda Pilot and Acura RDX. Also the Chevy Equinox, so the show will have a crossover feel. Kia and Mitsubishi will have new concept vehicles. Then we’ll have everything that was at Los Angeles and Detroit [Auto Shows.] That’s the beauty of being third. We’ll have the Acura NSX, the Buick Avenir, the 2016 Chevy Volt. I know Volt owners are looking forward to seeing that.”

The Chicago Auto Show has been on the forefront of incorporating social media, and was the first auto show to add a social media day to the media preview. “Start engaging us now on facebook, instagram or twitter,” said Sloan. “There are opportunities to win prizes and tickets to the show. You could also be in the studio audience for a taping of the “Windy City Live” TV show on Friday, February 13th and become eligible to win a two-year lease of a Ford Fusion. Download the Auto Show App, and when you come in and show us that you downloaded it you get a free commemorative cup.”

Manufacturers have caught on, too. “Automakers pay attention to what’s coming out of the Auto Show,” said Sloan. “Social media gives them instant feedback. So, bring your smart phone, your iPad or your favorite device and put out some content on what you like, or what you don’t like. Tell them. You can have an impact on what gets made and when.”

With auto sales up and the industry in back in high gear, there will be a lot more to look at than just cars. “Over the last five to seven years, displays have gotten so much more interactive,” said Sloan. “They are fully hands-on. It’s more than just playing video games. There are lots of interesting things people line up for.”

“McCormick Place is just a cool place to be,” said Sloan. “It’s architecturally beautiful. Throw in the Auto Show and it’s even prettier. People come to the show for the first time, walk in the door and say ‘wow.’”

Find all the details at chicagoautoshow.com

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