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Expanded Chicago Auto Show wraps with endorsement of multitude

November 22, 2010
The weather cooperated, and visitors to the country's most-attended auto show gave a resounding thumbs-up to an expanded show floor that made it easier for everyone to manuever the floor and inspect the vehicles. Automotive journalists at the two-day Media Preview, preceding the show's opening, buzzed about the new layout across 1.2 million square feet at McCormick Place, which many regard as the country's finest convention center. The media, and the public that followed, were treated to 13 concept- and production-vehicle introductions. Concept vehicles Dodge Nitro Honda Civic Si Hyundai Portico International MXT truck Production vehicles 2006 Buick Lucerne 2006 Cadilla DTS 2006 Dodge Ram Mega Cab 2006 Kia Sedona 2005 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG 2006 Mercury Mariner Hybrid 2006 Mercury Milan 2006 Mercury Mountaineer 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser Food drive nets 8.4 tons Late weekday crowds benefited the Chicago Christian Industrial League by contributing more than 16,800 pounds of canned foods. The CATA extends a $5 discount off regular adult admission to those who bring three cans of food Wednesday through Friday at the show. The league is a nonsectarian, nonprofit organization serving the poor and homeless from the entire metropolitan area. $25,900 disbursed in ACE awards Effective salespeople in the displays netted a combined $25,900 under the Award for Customer Excellence (ACE) 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 customer; (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, $100 cash, can be won by only one salesperson a day at each make's display. Ten people won the award at least three times during the 10-day show. Len Donnells of Joe Rizza Acura (Orland Park) and Gerardas "Jerry" Skeberdis of Balzekas Jeep (Chicago) each won the award four times. Three-time winners included Todd Almblad of Sullivan GMC (Libertyville), Jaime Batallas of Mancari's Dodge of Des Plaines, Irwin De Los Reyes of Mid City Nissan (Chicago), Dan Draganchuk of Steve Foley Cadillac (Northbrook), Sam Gage of Honda of Lisle, Ed Kucic of Napleton Cadillac (Park Ridge), Sean McClowery of Lexus of Westmont, and Amy Watson of Jerry Gleason Chevrolet (Forest Park). Judges included members of the CATA board of directors and others. Every winner also received a distinctive certificate. Congratulations to all the winners!