Chicago Auto Show Takes The Lead As The First Major Show Of The Year

It seemed bigger.  Nearly 1000 cars, trucks and SUVs were in there?

As I wandered through the show floor’s north and south halls last week during media days, the feel was just different, better.  It could be that Chicago has taken over the prime spot as “first major show of the year” since the Detroit Auto Show aka NAIAS has moved to June.

The positive vibe was strong.  Journalists were relaxed, but interested in all the press conferences held every 20-30 minutes all day long.  These days can sometimes feel like cramming for a test, but it was almost zen during that cold, snowy week.

Chicago Skyline

Manufacturers sported their best suits, skirts and shoes as they reviewed their newest products for us.  Sometimes more splash than substance, bright lights and video displays resonated throughout the day.  PR at full-tilt, we were briefed on trends, new models, refreshed current models and hopes built on the hard work and determination of the automobile industry itself.

Acura lineup

I’m always amazed at the thoughtful planning and execution of the Chicago Auto Show.  Having attended since I was old enough to walk the show at the old McCormick place, it has improved through all the growing pains, recessions, booms and busts of the industry.  Shiny new cars give some hope to many midwesterners and they actually go out and buy something with a few months of the show.  Attendance is strong and displays with knowledgeable product specialists, interactive events like ride-and-drive, and a social media presence (#CAS2020) gets the show trending every year.

With over one million square feet of space, the largest show in North America functions and functions well thanks to Mark Bilek and his team at the Chicago Automobile Trade Association and its sponsoring partners.  Chicago Auto Show Chairman Tony Guido touts, “Chicago Auto Show fans are in for a treat this year as the 2020 show will offer unfettered access to nearly 1,0000 vehicles on display, four indoor test track experiences, three outdoor ride-and-drive opportunities, brand-new engaging displays, interactive activities for people of all ages and a robust lineup of special events throughout the entire show. ”

I’ll bring you more news about some of the highlights at the show in the weeks to come.

Media days are tiring, but worth it as all those journalists descend upon McCormick Place.  Here are a few of my colleagues and I taking a rare break at the Honda display.

Friends at CAS

I loved the CUBS skin on the new 2020 Toyota Highlander!

Cubs Theme Toyota Highlander

Oh, and there were puppies…THANK YOU SUBARU!

Subaru puppies

Stay tuned…

2 thoughts on “Chicago Auto Show Takes The Lead As The First Major Show Of The Year

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  1. Looks overwhelming, north-south halls, 1,000,000 plus square feet, 4 indoor test tracks…. Whew. The new stuff has to be nice. Hope you got to sit in a bunch and maybe crank a few up. They should offer the Cub Camry. Must be a gaggle of electrics there. Thank you for reporting, Al

    1. Thanks Al. This story was written in 2020 right before everything was shut down from COVID. Stay tuned for a report about this year’s show. It was very different.

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