CHICAGO — The Chicago Auto Show, sandwiched between the international auto shows in Detroit and New York, is promising plenty of news this week.
Although it might not attract the thousands of media that attend the preview days at the North American International Auto Show, it is consistently one of the nation’s largest auto shows in terms of consumer attendance, and that’s nothing to sneeze at. Chicago folks love their cars and trucks.
After a press preview Feb. 9 - 10, the show opens to the public on Feb. 11. Foresight Research measured that 70% of attendees come to shop and 65% plan to purchase a vehicle within the next year.
This year, the footprint of automaker displays grows by 55,000 square feet. Notably, Porsche is doubling its show floor space. Attendees will again have plenty of opportunities to test-drive vehicles, with a record five indoor test tracks and four outdoor test-drive opportunities.
Chicago’s also taking the lead in connecting attendees with exhibitors through an innovative registration program called Epass. Managed by Chicago-based Eshots, Epass allows attendees to give and get information via a simple swipe of their ticket at locations across the show floor. Epass will allow show-goers the chance to request vehicle information, register for test drives and enter contests. The program will also help exhibitors reach more consumers.
Here are some of the highlights of what the media and public can expect to see this week:
Nissan is unveiling special Midnight Edition versions of six of its vehicles. The new Midnight Editions of Sentra, Altima, Maxima, Rogue, Murano and Pathfinder share black wheels, black spoiler and black mirror caps. The Nissan Titan full-size pickup lineup gets another new model, the King Cab, which makes its global auto show debut.
Ford, which debuted its redesigned Expedition via Facebook Live on Tuesday, will unveil the SUV to the in-person public via the show. The vehicle, available in the fall, is geared toward aging Gen Xers with “active families” who want smart technology to be able to stay connected while they have their adventures
The all-new Volvo V90 Cross Country wagon and ultra-luxurious XC90 Excellence plug-in hybrid SUV will make their debuts. Since the introduction of the first Cross Country almost 20 years ago, the models fulfill an increasingly important part of the Swedish automaker’s product portfolio as luxury car buyers seek out a more experienced-based lifestyle that occasionally takes them off the beaten track.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles unveils the 2018 Dodge Durango SRT. Vehicles will start arriving in Dodge dealerships in the fourth quarter of 2017. The new 2018 Dodge Durango SRT is loaded with performance features designed to make it America’s fastest, most powerful and most capable three-row SUV. All customers who buy a new Durango SRT will receive one full-day session at the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving.
The 2017 Ram 1500 Copper Sport will make its first appearance. Ram’s Copper Sport limited edition is the first time a Ram 1500 has offered the radiant Copper Pearl color. Nine-speaker Alpine premium audio system with subwoofer. With production limited to 3,000 units, this is a niche vehicle.
Mitsubishi unveils a limited-edition model of the Outlander Sport compact crossover. Positioned directly above the ES base model, the Outlander Sport Limited Edition offers customers style and technology enhancements.
Subaru will debut a mid-cycle refresh of its mainstay Legacy midsize sedan, which features styling changes and additional infotainment features. Apple’s CarPlay platform, which allows users to access iOS-like features through a vehicle’s in-dash system using a connected iPhone, will be available standard in the 2018 Legacy (as will Android Auto) via the company’s Bluetooth Subaru Starlink multimedia system.
Toyota reportedly will show off a freshened Tundra full-size pickup. The automaker is continuing the celebration of the Chicago Cubs’ World Series victory on the Chicago Auto Show floor. The Cubs-themed 2017 Tundra that drove in the Cubs victory parade last November will be on display for photos, complete with the 10-foot-tall World Series trophy replica in the bed. Toyota is a Legacy Partner of the Chicago Cubs and the Official Vehicle of the Cubs and Wrigley Field. The exhibit will also display two baseball-themed RAV4 models, one each for the Cubs and White Sox.
Stay tuned for more news from the show floor.