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2013 Chicago Auto Show draws crowds, raves

March 1, 2013
Consumers turned out en masse Feb. 9-18 for the 2013 Chicago Auto Show, and they left in good spirits for what is regarded as the launch of the local dealers’ spring selling season.
Enthusiastic and plentiful media coverage of the show, including two 60-miinute television specials, contributed to an excitement for what awaited on the show floor: about 1,000 new vehicles, including a number of debuts — production and concepts.
“Our one-day shift in dates proved to be all that we hoped it would be and more,” said show Chairman Michael Ettleson. “Returning First Look for Charity to Friday grew attendance over last year, and our Presidents Day attendance was more than double that of the Friday opening a year prior.”
A new way for the show to connect with consumers came in the form of a mobile app that offered an on-demand schedule of events, detailed show floor map, interactive videos, image galleries, and a camera icon and filter to upload and share photos, among other functions.
Best of Show voting
For the eighth straight year, consumer voters proclaimed their favorites in five categories in the Chicago Auto Show’s “Best of Show” balloting.
In voting conducted over the 10-day public run of the nation’s biggest auto show, winners in the contest’s five categories were:
• Best All-New Production Vehicle: 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray (36 percent of vote)
• Best Concept Vehicle: Chevrolet “Turbo” Camaro (27 percent of vote)
• Best Green Vehicle: Fisker Karma (24 percent of vote)
• Best Exhibit: Jeep (27 percent of vote)
• Vehicle I’d most like to have in my driveway: 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
First-ever Family Day
The Chicago Auto Show hosted its inaugural Family Day on Presidents Day, the 2013 show’s final day. While show organizers worked with manufacturers and exhibitors to coordinate family-friendly events throughout the 10-day public show, Family Day featured a robust lineup up of family fun.
“From years past, we know that Presidents Day at the Chicago Auto Show draws a crowd,” said Dave Sloan, Chicago Auto Show general manager. “We’re constantly looking to provide our manufacturers and exhibitors with the best value and, with the addition of Family Day, we hoped to provide even more opportunities to reach new buyers. Plus, Presidents Day was the perfect time to host Family Day, as most children have the day off from school.”
Show officials teamed up with bimonthly local family resource guide, Oaklee’s Family Guide, to host back-to-back events throughout the last day of the public show, including appearances by retired Chicago Bear and NFL Hall of Famer Dan Hampton and Dora the Explorer, children’s story time, and musical performances.
Food drive nets 10 tons
Late weekday crowds benefited A Safe Haven by contributing more than 20,000 pounds of canned food. The CATA extends a $6 discount off a regular adult admission to those who bring three cans of food Wednesday through Friday at the show.
$20,350 disbursed in ACE awards
Effective salespeople in the displays netted more than $20,000 under the show’s Award for Customer Excellence program. Salespeople at all vehicle exhibits were evaluated each day by incognito judges who rated the salespeople using various criteria.
Judges considered (1) the salesperson’s initial impact, such as attitude, personality and interest in the consumer; (2) courtesy, such as asking the prospect’s name and referring the prospect to a convenient dealership; (3) the sales presentation itself; and (4) the overall impression made.
The prize, $200 on weekends and $150 weekdays, can be won by only one salesperson a day at each make’s display that involves salespeople from area dealerships.
Continental Honda’s Nick Hanna won the award five times over the course of the show; three-time winners included Gabriel Szwec of Sullivan Buick-GMC, Miguel Sanchez of Marquardt of Barrington, and Howard Meron of Bredemann Lexus in Glenview; and nine others won twice.  
Congratulations to all the winners!