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2015 Chicago Auto Show finds attendance, enthusiasm brimming

February 27, 2015
Chicagoans this year shivered through their second coldest February ever, but they turned out in droves to the latest Chicago Auto Show, where the weather was always 70 degrees except, perhaps, by the building’s entrance doors.
Attendance at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show jumped 7 percent over 2014, earnestly launching the area dealers’ spring selling season.
The show’s media preview hosted 18 world premieres, including the introduction of important consumer vehicles such as the Acura RDX, Chevrolet Equinox, Honda Pilot and Toyota Avalon.
"With so many attendees and so much room to spread out, the Chicago Auto Show is the nation’s consumer auto show," said John Webb, chairman of the just-wrapped edition. "That was in evidence with the large number of mainstream vehicles that made their world debuts here this year."
A leader in technology, the Chicago Auto Show treated its visitors to free Wi-Fi, and more than 33,000 people downloaded the show’s official app. The app incorporated cutting-edge beacon technology designed to message attendees when they approached significant vehicles or sponsor-activation areas.
On the social media front, #CAS15 was a top trending hashtag on Twitter during the media preview. The hashtag directly reached 30 million people.
Best of Show
For the 10th consecutive year, consumer voters proclaimed their favorites in five categories in the show’s "Best of Show" balloting. The Chicago Auto Show is the only major auto show that measures its attendees’ favorite vehicles and exhibits. Winners in the contest’s five categories were:
• Best All-New Production Vehicle: Ford GT (38 percent of the vote)
• Best Concept Vehicle: Toyota FT-1 (30 percent)
• Best Green Vehicle: BMW i8 (38 percent)
• Best Exhibit: Ford (25 percent)
• Vehicle I’d Most Like to Have in My Driveway: Ford Mustang GT350
Each of the first four winners beat out seven other vehicles. The eight finalists in those categories were named by a jury of automotive experts. In the "driveway’ category, voters could choose from among any of the vehicles on the show floor. In all, nearly 8,000 consumers voted in the Best of Show balloting.
Top salespeople
Ninety effective salespeople in the displays netted more than $16,000 under the show’s Award for Customer Excellence program. Incognito judges each day evaluated the salespeople using various criteria. The prize, $150 or $200 cash, could be won by one salesperson a day at each eligible exhibit. Four salesmen won the award twice over the show’s run: Tim Geller, of Schaumburg Mitsubishi; Patrick Norris, of McGrath Acura of Downtown Chicago; John Schneider, of Continental Honda (Countryside); and Jerry J.T. Triplett, of Bill Kay Ford (Midlothian).
Hispanic Heritage Day
With Telemundo Chicago, the Chicago Auto Show designated Feb. 20 as Hispanic Heritage Day, in recognition of the rising market of Latino car buyers. Telemundo has partnered with the Chicago Auto Show since 2007 to present this special event.  
Planning for the 108th Chicago Auto Show, Feb. 13-21, 2016, already is underway.