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Chicago Auto Show sets for 2003 edition, Feb. 14-23

November 23, 2010
Since 1901, Chicago has distinguished itself as the nation's foremost consumer automotive exposition, and this year's 95th edition will be no different. The 2003 Chicago Auto Show, open to the public Feb. 14-23, will feature more than 1,000 cars, trucks, SUVs and the always-readyto- steal-the-show concepts. "We know that not everyone likes everything," said 2003 Chicago Auto Show Chairman Bob Van Iten. "But that's the beauty of our show. There truly is something to entertain every member of the family and inform anyone who is in the market for something new in his driveway. "The auto industry is bringing a bumper crop of new products to a public that is eager to look, to buy or just to dream." "Despite news reports we hear and see nightly that say the economy is stalled, last year the industry sold more than 16 million vehicles, the fourth highest in history," said Chicago Automobile Trade Association Chairman Mike McGrath. "That's an amazing testimony to the ongoing love affair Americans have with their cars and their ability to go virtually anywhere they want, whenever they want. "We see a brighter year for America and our industry, and this show will help shine the light of excitement as we enter the spring selling season." First Look for Charity The 12th First Look for Charity precedes the public show on Thursday evening, Feb. 13, from 6:30-10:30 p.m. The black-tie gala benefits 17 local organizations and is a highlight of Chicago's social calendar. Last year, the event gave attendees a relaxed view of the nation's largest auto show as it raised $1.8 million. "As a Chicagoland newcar dealer, I'm particularly proud of 'First Look' and the millions upon millions of dollars we've been able to give to very worthwhile groups," said Van Iten. "Our area dealers have demonstrated a century of commu- nity involvement, and this special night speaks volumes about how they care for those who are in need." Pontiac Division of General Motors and the Chicagoland Pontiac dealers have donated a 2004 Grand Prix to be awarded to someone in attendance at First Look. "Actor Anthony Edwards will draw the winning ticket, but the real winners are the charities," said Van Iten. "In his role in the hit NBC series 'ER,' he spent a lot of time in Chicago, and we're so pleased that he'll join us again in the Windy City. Charities participating in the event are Advocate Hope Children's Hospital, ALSAC/St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Alzheimer's Association, Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago, Campagna Academy, Children's Memorial Hospital, Clearbrook, The Cradle, and Cure Autism Now Foundation. Also, the Ray Graham Association for People with Disabilities, Illinois Spina Bifida Association, Little City Foundation, March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Misericordia Heart of Mercy, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and the United Negro College Fund Tickets for First Look are available at the door or in advance by calling 630-424-1636. Any tickets purchased after Feb. 5 will be held at Will Call at the event. Special Days and Features While any visit to the Chicago Auto Show is special, some days are of particular note. Tuesday, Feb. 18 will feature programs and a ticket bargain. Women's Day offers a $5 discount off the full $10 admission for all women, who are invited to visit manufacturer displays where ongoing seminars on purchasing, leasing, servicing or just plain enjoying 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 anyone who is serious about selling product. The seminars held on Women's Day help clear up questions that some are shy about asking." As an extension of the charitable aspects of the exposition, organizers will again feature The Chicago Auto Show Food Drive, which benefits the Chicago Christian Industrial League and its programs to feed the hungry. The drive will be Wednesday through Friday, Feb. 19-21. "Patrons who bring three cans of food to the auto show will receive a $5 discount off the full $10 admission," said Cizek. "Food drives tend to center around holiday seasons, but the problem goes on year-round. It's the belief of the CATA's directors that we can help those in need with this program by offering this weekday discount to show  patrons." is sponsoring "Kids' Concept Cars" at the show, a contest to spark the imagination of the next generation of car designers. Children of all ages will be encouraged to take a seat in the display and draw their favorite cars from the show-or a creation all their own. Their artwork will be digitally scanned and featured on the Web site. At the end of the show, CATA officials will choose a winner in each of three age categories. Winners will receive $50 gift certificates from Toys "R" Us. Contestants and auto company recruiters can log on to on Feb. 25, to see the winning entries. Online Ticket Sales The program to buy Chicago Auto Show admission tickets online began two years ago and in 2002 grew to the point where show organizers had to increase the number of scanners for those who had purchased their tickets in the comfort of their home. "We thought it would spark interest and cut down on some of our box office lines," said Chairman Van Iten, "but we never expected it to fly the way it has. Before long, you'll probably see more lines for scanning Internet tickets than for traditional papers tickets purchased on-site. That's fine with us, obviously, as it contributes to making the entire auto show experience more pleasant for our patrons." To buy a ticket online, go to and click on the ticket icon. A credit card, a computer and a home printer is all that's needed to produce a bar-coded ticket in the blink of an eye. Auto show hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily except Feb. 23, when the show closes at 8 p.m. Box offices close one hour prior to show closing each day. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for senior citizens. Pre-teens also are $5, or free when they accompany a paying parent.