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'04 Chicago Auto Show ready to roll

November 22, 2010
The automotive industry and the nation's largest auto show are ready to serve as the perfect sales appetite stimulant. With nearly 1,000 cars, trucks, SUVs, concepts and specialty vehicles on display in Chicago's gigantic McCormick Place, consumers will be able to enjoy every morsel of sheet metal eye candy at this year's Chicago Auto Show, Feb. 6-15. "Many contend that before the economy is able to go from trot to gallop, all the pieces have to be in place," said 2004 auto show Chairman Mike McGrath. "From our perspective, the Chicago Auto Show is one of the puzzle pieces that's crucial to the recovery. Before any customer spends, there must be motivated to do so. "There's no better way to create demand for product than displaying the industry's latest offerings in the truly remarkable exhibits that fill McCormick Place." The automotive industry is in a huge roll-out cycle that will treat show-goers to more new products than ever before. Each of the segments of production, from cars to trucks to SUVs to crossovers, have new vehicles to peruse side by side. "From the practical side," said CATA Chairman Casey Wickstrom, "the auto show offers a consumer the very best way to survey all of the brands and styles all in one place. The show visitor can see one brand just a short walk from another, so easy and repeated comparisons can be made. "And they'll be able to judge the practicality of the industry's offerings and peer into the future, with spectacular concept vehicles that someday might grace their driveways-or their children's!" Giving Back to the Community While the auto show is one of the engines of the local and national economy, it also serves to help the community. First Look for Charity, the CATA's annual blacktie preview of the Chicago Auto Show, this year is 6:30- 10:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 5. The event, which benefits 16 local organizations, last year raised $2.2 million. "Over the 13 years we've produced 'First Look,' we've seen it grow into one of the highlight events on Chicago's social calendar," said Jerry H. Cizek III, CATA president and general manager of the auto show. "For the first time we've considered capping the number of tickets we sell in order to keep the event special for its patrons. "While McCormick Place can hold a tremendous number of people, the idea of this night is to offer an elegant look at the show-replete with sumptuous hors d'oeuvres, champagne, wine and two very special drawings for spectacular cars." Through the generosity of two manufacturers, two lucky patrons will be able to leave First Look for Charity with more than the good feeling of helping those in need. "Lexus and the Chicagoland Lexus dealers have offered their elegant SC 430 hardtop convertibles as one of the grand prizes," said Cizek, "and Chicago's Acura dealers and Acura division of Honda have contributed their nimble and gutsy new TL sport-sedan to find its way into yet another patron's family. "Two prizes worth more than $100,000 is a nice way to put a cherry on the top of a very fun night!" Tickets for the black-tie event are $175 each and are available in advance by calling 630-424-1636 or at Will Call the night of the event. Special Days While any visit to the Chicago Auto Show is special, some are of particular note. Tuesday, Feb. 10 will feature programs and a ticket bargain. Women's Day offers a $5 discount off regular admission for all women, who are invited to visit manufacturer displays where ongoing seminars on purchasing, leasing, servicing or playing in their vehicles will be held. "While women are directly involved with the vast majority of automotive purchases, some feel that manufacturers are only targeting males," said Chicago Auto Show General Manager Jerry Cizek. "In reality, females are very high on the priority list for any manufacturer who is serious about selling product-and that's all of them! The seminars held on Women's Day help clear up questions that some are shy about addressing." As an extension of the charitable aspects of the expo, organizers will again feature The Chicago Auto Show Food Drive, which benefits the Chicago Christian Industrial League and their programs to feed the hungry. The drive will be held Wednesday through Friday, Feb. 11-13. Patrons who bring three cans of food to the auto show will receive a $5 discount off regular admission. Food drives tend to center around holiday seasons, but the problem goes on year-round. It's the belief of the CATA's Board of Directors that we can help those in need with this program by offering this weekday discount to show patrons. Through a special arrangement with Jewel Food Stores, an in-store coupon will be given to those who purchase three cans of Jewel-brand canned goods and bring them to the show. The coupon will be good for a $5 discount off full admission price during the Feb. 11-13 food drive. Online Ticket Sales Three years ago, the Chicago Auto Show experimented with online ticket sales via the Internet. The program has grown to the point where show organizers have increased the number of scanners for those who have purchased their tickets in the comfort of their home. Those who wish to take advantage of the Web site sales can simply log on to and click on the ticket icon. A credit card, computer and home printer will deliver a bar-coded ticket to the hands of the purchaser in the blink of an eye. The Chicago Auto Show will be open to the public Feb. 6-15. Hours are 10 a.m.-10 p.m. daily, except Feb. 15 when the show closes at 8 p.m. Box offices will sell tickets up to one hour prior to closing every day. Admission is $10 for adults; $5 for pre-teens or free when accompanied by a paying parent; $5 for senior citizens.