The Chicago Auto Show premiered in 1901 and remains the nation’s largest with more than 1 million square feet of exhibit space. All of the major automobile manufacturers take the opportunity to showcase their latest and greatest creations. Most vehicles at the show are unlocked, and guests are encouraged to try them out for comfort and customization. A major auto show is beyond the average car investigation experience, in that all the non-concept models tend to be tricked out so you can see every bell and whistle. Ford’s new 2015 Police Interceptor model, for example, was a big hit throughout the show. Attendees could not wait to scope out the inside of a brand new police car (the easy way).
I cannot put myself forward as an ‘according to Hoyle’ automotive enthusiast, as I do not give much consideration to vehicles outside my personal needs. I would be in the market for a truck or SUV, but a concept sports car cannot keep my attention or long without slipping into the category of daydreaming. That said, I’m a big fan of my Toyota Tacoma! One of the big draws of an auto show this size is that there is something for everyone. My next accessory will be this handy, adjustable divider for my Tacoma’s bed. I think it is going to make my grocery days that much easier, allowing me to stack them in the back and leave plenty of room for the boys in the cab.
Not every attendee came looking for solid, workmanlike performance. Nissan unveiled the amazing high performance 370Z NISMO Roadster Concept, thrilling fans of the brand with the first convertible in the series. They showed off their new 24 Hours of LeMans entrant, the GT-R LP NISMO Racer, giving us a rare chance to get close to the endurance racing legend.
You will even find major upgrades for some of the most common cars on U.S. roads. One of Toyota’s new models was a 2015 Camry which ‘Dancing With The Stars’ and Paralympics medalist Amy Purdy used to pace the Daytona 500. Despite being one of the most popular models, it has undergone many design changes or 2015, and does indeed look refreshed for the new year. It’s so much fun to get a sneak peek at the cars I’ll being seeing on the roads in a few years.
Jeep put up an impressive off-road course and made it available for the attendees to test drive. While I didn’t have the moxie to get behind the driver’s wheel, it looked like a great deal of fun and a unique learning experience. It gave Jeep a chance to show off their chops on uneven terrain, and was a fine showcase.
An effort was made this year to increase engagement among women and millenials. The show kicked off with the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) breakfast. I had a great time socializing with such a large group of peers, and met many new friends. MAMA awarded its Family Vehicle of the Year to the Chrysler 200. Later that day was the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) breakfast. It was great to see so many peers gathered together, and I had a great time socializing. WOMMA gave their third annual “Driving Engagement” award to Honda for what they judged to be the best social media campaign of the year for their FitKit campaign for the 2015 Fit. The National Road Safety Foundation hosted a Drive Safe Chicago exhibition where students submitted scripts or storyboards for a national Anti-Distracted Driving commercial.
One of my favorite long-running promotions is Shell’s Fuel Rewards Network. I save at least three cents a gallon, with no limit to the savings, just by swiping my rewards card when I buy groceries, gas and dining out. At Shell’s area, friendly reps were always ready to assist with registration and education about the program’s details. The important part to me is being able to save and not changing the places I ship.