Chicago Automobile Trade Association

2020 Chicago Auto Show

In what seems like a lifetime ago, the nation's largest and longest- running auto show opened its doors to the masses for 10 February days. Auto shows remain a beacon of influence because they are where consumers still can touch and feel products across all segments and brands. It's no coincidence that more than 11 million consumers attend U.S. auto shows every year - with 68% of them planning a new-vehicle purchase within 12 months.
The greatest impact of an auto show is that it exerts tremendous influence over a customer's vehicle purchase consideration, and it greatly promotes brand loyalty. In fact, the data continue to demonstrate that auto show attendees consistently are twice as likely to make a new-vehicle purchase within a year of visiting a show versus the general population.
"The strength of our show starts and ends with the consumers who attend," said 2020 Chicago Auto Show Chairman Tony Guido. "According to Foresight Research, more than 60 percent of Chicago Auto Show attendees are 12-month vehicle intenders, so we know that people come to shop. With four indoor test tracks and three outdoor ride-and-drive experiences, there were ample opportunities for attendees to experience, firsthand, the features of today's brand-new cars, trucks and SUVs."
The Chicago Auto Show once again featured more than 1 million square feet of top-tier exhibits by global automakers, more than 20 brand-new vehicle introductions that made their worldwide or national debut, a host of interactive exhibits and test-drive opportunities.
"In Chicago, we've transformed our show into a multi-platform event that promotes cars, trucks and technology throughout the show on just about every medium available to us," said Chicago Auto Show General Manager Dave Sloan. "And then we keep it going all year long on, which features every new car and truck in the Chicago market on a portal that we support with a million- dollar ad campaign."
Despite challenges with traffic and parking as a result of nearby National Basketball Association all-star activities, attendance was strong and proof of Chicago's reputation as a robust consumer show. Some of the show highlights:
Best of Show
Consumer voters selected their favorites in five categories in the 15th annual Best of Show balloting. The Chicago Auto Show is the only major auto show that polls its attendees' favorite vehicles and exhibit. In voting over the show's 10 public days, the 2020 winners were:
All-New Production Vehicle: 2020 Chevrolet Corvette
Concept Car: Acura Type S
Green Car: 2021 Ford Mustang Mach E
Best Exhibit: Jeep
Car I would most like to have in my driveway: 2020 Chevrolet Corvette
Theme Days
Special-themed days helped keep the proceedings lively. For the first time, Chicago Auto Show organizers partnered with the Chicago Area Runners Association to host Honda Miles Per Hour, a unique indoor run that guided participants on a 2.4-mile loop throughout the show floor. The event's moniker accurately describes the premise of the run: Participants cover as much distance as possible in one hour. Other themed days:
  • As part of Women's Day, all women on Feb. 11 were admitted at a nearly 40% discount. Various manufacturers presented special women-oriented programs on the purchase and lease of cars and on vehicle maintenance. 
  • Since 2007, the Chicago Auto Show has partnered with Telemundo Chicago to present Hispanic Heritage Day. Special themed programs on Feb. 14 showcased the vibrancy of the Hispanic culture.
  • Chicago Friday Night Flights is a beer-tasting event that exults Chicago's dynamic craft brewing scene. Back for another round at the Chicago Auto Show, a tasting pass provided access to the show floor and samplings of 10 three-ounce pours of craft beer.
  • Attendees showed their sports team pride when visiting the show on Feb. 10. Those who wore an Illinois team jersey, shirt, or jacket got a discounted admission. Sports Team Pride Day was presented by the Marquee Sports Network.
  • The Chicago Auto Show partnered with the Daily Herald to present Family Day at the show. Held annually on Presidents Day, Family Day plays host to special themed programs designed to engage and entertain children of all ages.
  • Show patrons who donated three cans of food received a coupon for reduced adult admission. All food collected by the Chicago Auto Show Food Drive was donated to A Safe Haven Foundation. Organizers said more than 24,000 pounds of canned food was collected.
First Look for Charity
The auto show's benevolent black-tie event came within a whisker of raising $3 million for 18 area nonprofits, finishing at $2.95 million raised. Over 29 years, the event has raised more than $56 million. Mychel Watts of Calumet Park, in south suburban Cook County, was the lucky winner of a 2020 Ford Explorer ST, the official vehicle of the 2020 show. Watts directed the proceeds of her ticket purchase to benefit all the event's 18 charities. Wintrust, the Chicago Auto Show's official bank sponsor, gave her a $250 gift card.
"MotorWeek," television's longest-running automotive magazine series, returned to the Chicago Auto Show to announce the winners of its 2020 Drivers' Choice Awards in 14 categories. The award selection is based on driving performance, technology, practicality, fuel efficiency, and value.
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