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Curtain set to rise on 2018 Chicago Auto Show

January 26, 2018
With automakers buoyed by three straight years of 17 million-plus new-vehicle U.S. sales, expect them to raise the bar for the coming 10-day Chicago Auto Show, Feb. 10-19.
That’s not quite right. The show actually is a three-legged stool: the two-day Media Preview; First Look for Charity (see related article), and the show’s 10 public days that follow. 
Buy tickets online, print ’em out at home and avoid the box office lines. Tickets are $13 for adults; $7 for seniors aged 62 and older and for children ages 7 to 12; and children 6 and younger are free with a paid adult. 
Parking in two of McCormick Place’s three lots, Lots A and C, costs $23; in Lot B, it costs $15. At 6 p.m. daily, the rate at all three lots drops to $10. Special parking rates also will be offered Saturdays, Sundays, and Presidents Day, Feb. 19, with free roundtrip shuttle bus service from the Millennium Park and Millennium Lakeside Garages. On those days only, parking rates there are $18 for 12 hours with validation, which will be provided upon shuttle exit.
The 2018 version of is fully functional for all devices — desktop, tablet and mobile — allowing users the same experience whether they are at home, work or on the go. The CATA has arranged for free high-speed WiFi at the show, to allow attendees to share their experiences through social media, the show website, and the official Chicago Auto Show app.
Media Preview
The Media Preview curtain rises Feb. 8 with the Midwest Automotive Media Association breakfast, featuring keynote speaker Thomas Doll, president and chief executive of Subaru of America. Hours later, Hinrich Woebcken, CEO of Volkswagen’s North America Region and president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., will be the guest speaker at the Economic Club of Chicago Luncheon, a monthly gathering which in February is held at McCormick Place for the auto show.
About 3,500 registered media and an additional 1,500 invited bloggers, digital influencers and shouters will be on hand for the two-day Media Preview, to report on an anticipated 20 new-vehicle introductions. In addition to the many news conferences:
The Chicago Auto Show and Word of Mouth Marketing Association will team for the sixth year on the 2018 Driving Engagement Award, which recognizes an automaker for an outstanding word-of-mouth campaign using social media. Past award winners include Mitsubishi (Kids Talk Safety), Honda (Monsters Calling Home and April Fools Fit Kit), Hyundai (Walking Dead Chop Shop), and Toyota (Family Trails).
The show teams up with Women in Automotive and She Buys Cars to host the second annual What Driver Her industry networking event on Feb. 9. The event honors and celebrates women with leadership roles in the automotive industry, plus to discuss future trends. The event will be streamed live via the Chicago Auto Show’s Facebook page, at #WhatDrivesHerCAS. 
Public show
The automakers are getting creative with their displays; they’re so much more than cars on carpet! This year, attendees again have the chance to test-drive vehicles — at the indoor test tracks and in outdoor ride-and-drives — interact with the latest technology and safety features, and participate in new, engaging activations. 
This year’s show boasts three indoor test tracks among the Jeep, Kia and Toyota brands, and six outdoor test drive opportunities by Cadillac, Ford, Kia, Mazda, Subaru and Volkswagen.
Also, don’t miss out on the opportunity to win prizes by participating in the #CAS17 Challenge on social media: Share your show experience through photos and videos tagged with #CAS17 and you’ll automatically be entered to win awesome prizes.
Expect plenty of television coverage of the nation’s largest auto show. Locally, in addition to intermittent "throws" to reporters on the show floor, watch special programming from four Chicago TV stations: ABC, CBS, Telemundo and WGN. Initial broadcasts of the specials will be 4:30 p.m. Feb. 10 (Telemundo), 6 p.m. Feb. 10 (ABC and WGN), and 10:30 p.m. Feb. 11 (CBS). All the specials will be repeated during the show’s 10-day run.
Special days this year include:
Women’s Day, Tuesday, Feb. 13. Women admitted for $7. Manufacturers present special women-oriented programming on the purchase and lease of cars and maintenance.
Chicago Auto Show Food Drive, Feb. 14-16. Show patrons who bring three cans of food receive a voucher for a $7 adult admission. All canned food will be donated to A Safe Haven Foundation.
Hispanic Heritage Day, Friday, Feb. 16. Since 2007, Telemundo has partnered with the Chicago Auto Show to present special events, including autograph signings and music performances.
Family Day, Monday, Feb. 19. Family-friendly events with fun games, prizes and entertainment.