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Stage set for 2012 Chicago Auto Show

February 3, 2012
The auto industry’s elite gathers in the Windy City beginning Feb. 8, in advance of the 104th edition of the Chicago Auto Show, which opens its 10-day public run Feb. 10.
The formal portion of the show’s media preview commences Feb. 8, when Volvo Cars U.S. President John Maloney will speak at a breakfast hosted by the Midwest Automotive Media Association and the Chicago Auto Show. Following breakfast, the news moves to the show floor for presentations of new products by GMC, Hyundai, Kia, Ford, and Nissan. 
Expect more news at lunch that day, when the Economic Club of Chicago hands the mike to Yoshimi Inaba, holder of several titles including CEO of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. Then reporters return to the show floor for revelations of MotorWeek’s annual Drivers Choice Awards.
A news segment begun last year repeats Feb. 9, when the auto show devotes part of its media preview to the ever-expanding group of social media. Chrysler Corp. will show new vehicles and make executives available for interviews in the biggest display Chrysler builds anywhere.
Throughout the morning, manufacturers will hold events that, while open to traditional media, will accommodate bloggers, influencers, Facebook fans, club members and others upon whom many turn to for their opinions.
“Think of your friends, and there’s always someone who is the ‘expert’ on cars,” said show Chairman Steve Foley Jr. “While we have sought them out, the interesting part of our social media group is that it is comprised of people the manufacturers themselves find valuable. Each car maker will be able to invite those whom they think will benefit from being there.”
Dave Sloan, the show’s general manager, said, “We view this as a big plus in keeping the auto show’s messages in front of the public for the entire run of the show, not just the media preview.”
First Look for Charity
Don’t overlook the benevolent portion of North America’s largest auto show. First Look for Charity, held the evening before the public opening, is raising funds for 18 area nonprofits. Ticket sales are tracking 21 percent higher than last year’s edition, which generated $1.9 million for charities. And, mind you, the 2011 First Look for Charity ranked No. 3 on NBC5 Chicago’s Readers Choice Awards for the best area events to attend.
What to credit? Outstanding catereing themed to highlight culinary celebrations worldwide? Two prize vehicles to win—a 2012 Cadillac Escalade and and ’12 Cadillac SRX, both compliments of Your Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana Cadillac Dealers? A 90-minute performance by Blues Traveler, featuring harmonica virtuoso John Popper? The answer probably is yes, yes, and yes.
Tickets are $250 and are sold up to and including at the event. For a great overview, go to Purchasers can direct the proceeds of their transactions to any or all of the participating charities.
As the date nears and excitement builds, more and more are turning to the Internet to interact with the nation’s largest auto show. At, those website visitors can buy tickets, check out appearances by personalities, get a preview of nearly every vehicle on the show floor, go inside the show with its six webcams, and drive deep into the illustrious history of the nation’s longest-running auto show.
Mobile users aren’t neglected either. Smartphone users are automatically redirected to It’s a light version of the full-featured site and is designed to interact with attendees. They even can buy tickets on their phone in about a minute. Don’t know what’s going on? Check the daily schedule for appearances. Want help shopping for a new car? Check out the “Vehicles on Display” section.
The Chicago Auto Show also leads the way when it comes to social websites. The show’s Facebook page currently enjoys an ever-expanding legion of more than 12,000 fans and is constantly conducting contests and ticket giveaways. The show also utilizes Twitter (@chiautoshow & #CAS2012) to connect with followers and attendees. 
The show also will provide ongoing Digital Media Releases—quick-paced video news and activity releases designed to keep show interest at peak level with both media and consumers. Some DMRs will contain hard news content featuring in-depth manufacturer explanations of their newest vehicle, while others will highlight executive interviews and perspectives.
Daily “webisodes” will offer short videos showcasing many of the exciting events happening at show, such as celebrity signings, test tracks and outdoor test drives. The show’s mission is to keep the show and its activities pinging blogs, Facebook, Twitter feeds and Smartphones throughout the show.