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Stage set for 2009 Chicago Auto Show, Feb. 13-22 at McCormick Place

November 15, 2010

The nation’s largest auto show unfolds Feb. 13 for a 10-day run that unites an industry struggling in the current economy with a consumer base whose pent-up demand is growing.

"We’re going to have an auto show that focuses on what an auto show is supposed to do: bring together sellers and buyers," said 2009 Chicago Auto Show Chairman Mark Scarpelli. "A year from now, let’s look back and say ‘Hey, you know what? I think this thing started to turn around in Chicago.’ "

Local television stations NBC 5 Chicago (6 p.m.), Telemundo Chicago (5 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.) and WGN-TV (7 p.m.) will broadcast hour-long specials from the show floor on Feb. 14, and the city’s other TV outlets are sure to check in as the auto show unfolds.

This year marks the 11th consecutive year for NBC 5’s live 60-minute auto show special. Over the years, the station has won nine local Emmy awards for its coverage. The WGN special, in conjunction with "MotorWeek," features its annual "first drive of what you can’t buy anywhere" concept car report.

Telemundo appeals to the city’s growing Hispanic community with two shows—at 5 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.—that will focus on two timely topics: the economy and the environment, with special highlights on great deals on automobiles and information on environmentally-friendly vehicles.

Chicago Auto Show organizers have taken extra steps to entice attendance during a struggling economy, with increased ways for the public to enter free or at a discount. But even at full price, the $10 ticket makes Chicago’s among the nation’s most affordable auto shows.

Get your can to the show

New this year, an agreement with Pepsi-Cola resulted in area stores stocking 20 million Pepsi cans that include a voucher for half-price weekday admission. Patrons redeem the cans at McCormick Place.

Other longstanding opportunities for discounted weekday admission include the half-price vouchers provided by the CATA to all members in early January; Women’s Day, on Feb. 17; and the annual food drive, Feb. 18-20.

Discounted parking is available on weekends at the Millenium Park Garage, where attendees can leave their cars for $14 and ride a free shuttle to McCormick Place. Parking in the lots surrounding the convention center costs $17.

Once at the show, attendees won’t have to break the bank to eat. In the North hall, Tailgate Alley will sell affordable cuisine. In the South hall, "Drive-by Value Meals" packages meals for four at deep discounts, thanks to Chicago Restaurant Partners.