Chicago Auto Show: Consumers Win with Many Options

Ford sports car

Blog Editor’s Note: James Halderman, Automotive Author, had the opportunity to attend the Chicago Auto Show 2015 on February 13th. Below, Jim provides a brief description of his time at the show. His latest book, Automotive Technology: Principles, Diagnosis, and Service, is available in hardcover and useful for courses in automotive principles, service, and mechanics.

 

In 2015, the Chicago auto show marks its 107th show and is the oldest auto show in the country. First staged in 1901, the Chicago Auto Show is the largest auto show in North America and has been held more times than any other auto exposition on the continent.

This year’s event was open for the media preview on February 12th and 13th and to the public from February 14th through the 22nd at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois.

Volkswagen Beetle car

Some highlights from my perspective included:

  1. Several companies offered rides in their vehicles on a short course setup on the show floor including:
  • The Chrysler line of vehicles
  • Jeeps on a course designed to showcase their off road abilities
  • Toyota Camry
  1. Reveals of new concepts such as the:
  • Buick Avenir
  • Kia Trailster ,an all-electric all-wheel drive vehicle
  • Mitsubishi GC Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV)
  • Hyundai Santa Cruz
  • Chevrolet Colorado ZR2
Kia Trailster car
  1. New production vehicles showcased included the 2016:
  • Mazda MX-5
  • Nissan Titan XD
  • Toyota Tacoma
  • Honda Pilot

This is the first time I have attended the Chicago auto show and while I think the Detroit auto show is the premier event, the Chicago show was very impressive. The venue (McCormick Place) is a huge complex and the space allows the vehicle manufacturers more display space and more vehicles.  I took over 400 photos, mostly technical photos because there were many cutaway engines and other automotive components.

Toward the end of my visit and after spending many hours of viewing and sitting in many vehicles, it dawned on me that if I was not shown what brand of vehicle I was sitting in, it would be hard to distinguish what brand. Even lower priced vehicles, such Kia, Hyundai, Subaru and Mazda had excellent interiors with high-quality feeling surfaces or “touch points” throughout. The automotive industry has a come a long way from the old days when low priced cars and trucks had cheap looking exterior and interior features. Even the lower priced makes and models can be equipped with radar cruise control, navigation systems, and blind spot monitoring systems. The public has a lot to select from and the choices are almost endless. The winner of world-wide competition in the automotive industry is the consumer.