2.21.2009

Chicago Auto Show Report

I was really excited to go to this year's Chicago Auto Show, especially considering that the first (and last time) I went to was two years ago. I remember the excellent displays, lots of cars from each manufacturer, and lots of action going on. Lots of people attending too.

This year... well... not so much. Of anything. Very tempered.

  • First of all, a lot less models and even less manufacturers being represented. Less floor space than two years ago, and instead, gave up a significant portion to aftermarket providers--on the far end of the US-centric floorspace area.
  • The exotics this year were brought out by a local dealer group vs. having the actual manufacturer reps showing up.

  • No swag, not that much literature for that matter...but plenty of plastic bags (?) for you to...er...take nothing home.
  • WAY too many food carts... I don't remember that many food carts--is it the city of Chicago scoring even more extra money at an event?

  • $17 parking fee which is about $3 cheaper than the usual Soldier Field parking deck fee, if I remember correctly.

  • I didn't see Mitsubishi anywhere. I could have missed it, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't there. I wanted to see the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo, a favorite.

  • Mercedes and Maybach shared exhibit space, but they may have before, the price is so glaring on those I usually look away to prevent cornea searing ;o)

  • Hyundai TOTALLY showing off the afterglow from its Genesis model--sorry but to me, the body still looks cheapish, guys

  • Chevy totally focused on Transformers, and blew a perfectly good opp to connect w/ the everyday-man by showing off the new Tony Stewart Chevy under Hass Stewart ownership--I recognize that I'm totally biased on this, I admit it, but it was an easy gimme opp


  • Almost no street racer representation (!) except for the afterparts, and a Scion all geared up in crazy green flaming skulls (this is where the Mitsu Evo would have stood out)--though I've seen far better paint jobs on bikes at NASCAR in Joliet
  • Jeep/Dodge pulling the "look at how rugged I am!" with their little pony show test drive area with a steep hill...yeah guys... try rugged on Chicago-style potholes! In Naperville, the dealerships created a mini test drive range with a steep hill, so that's old news, especially since they had a bigger exhibit-demo space in '07.
  • Show host presentations: prevalent, female, usually on round moving car platforms, doing live presentations...though I can't say many people stopped to listen.
  • tiny electric vehicle coupes, lots...*cough*copycats*cough* too bad Tesla wasn't there!
  • Not as much subcompacts, but SMART, Mini, and Scion pulled quite a few models out... I did get the feeling that Mini was focusing a little too much on its Clubman though. Huuuge lines for the subcompacts, which I didn't expect.
  • VW didn't seem as shy as the others, they even brought the old, black beetle they use in their ad campaign--with motion activated interactive-sounding voice over and all. Oh and a couple of apple computers for some extracurricular fun after checking out the models.