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Automakers to engage shoppers at 2018 CAS.

The Chicago Auto Show has never lost sight of its biggest asset: the motorist. Sixty-five percent of people who visit the show are in the market to purchase a new vehicle within one year, organizers say.

Exhibitors know it's important to put their best foot forward in Chicago by bringing the latest vehicles, building world-class displays and providing interactive activities within their exhibits to keep show-goers engaged longer, said Jennifer Morand, director of public relations and social media for the Chicago Automobile Trade Association.

The trade association has produced the Chicago Auto Show since 1935, but the show's roots date back to 1901. This year marks the 110th edition of the show, which has grown to become the largest in North America with more than 1 million square feet of exhibit space.

The Chicago Auto Show not only jump-starts car sales for the region, but it helps stimulate automotive purchases across the entire country, Morand said.

She said Chicago outperforms other shows in reaching car buyers. Last year, the Chicago Auto Show grew in every measurable way: more square feet, increased attendance and heightened media coverage, Morand said.

Nearly 1,000 cars, trucks, SUVs and crossovers will be on display during the show's 10-day run, which wraps up on Presidents Day, Monday, Feb. 19.

Another important aspect to the show, Morand said, is the ability it provides female shoppers to compare brands and vehicle models.

Foresight Research reports an upward tick in Chicago Auto Show female attendance year over year, which has become almost equal to male attendance, closing the gender gap. Nearly half of Chicago Auto Show attendees are now females, Morand said.

This is important because many females are driving the vehicle-purchase decision. Women influence 85 percent of purchase decisions, research has shown.

Some other show highlights:

* Visitors can vote for their favorite vehicles and displays as Best of Show on any of the kiosks located throughout the show floor or on the mobile app.

* Download the Chicago Auto Show mobile app to stay up to date on the latest show information, view the vehicles on display and find a show floor map. Fans who download the app will save $3 on a full-price adult ticket.

* Join the conversation on social media with the #CAS18 hashtag and be entered to win prizes. Find updates at www.Facebook.com/ChicagoAutoShow.

* The Chicago Auto Show Food Drive is Wednesday through Friday, Feb. 14-16. Show patrons who bring three cans of food will receive a coupon for a $7 adult admission. All food will be donated to A Safe Haven Foundation.

* Parking is just $10 in McCormick Place lots after 6 p.m.

* For tickets and information, visit ChicagoAutoShow.com.

People attending the 2018 show also have the chance to test-drive all-new electric and hybrid plug-in vehicles. Vehicles available for outdoor test-drives include the all-new 2018 Nissan LEAF, new 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid and all-new 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.

The test-drives are being hosted by the Chicago Area Clean Cities Coalition, a nonprofit coalition focused on clean-transportation solutions for the six-county Chicago area, and are made possible via the American Lung Association's Midwest EVOLVE program.

"If you've wondered what it's like to drive an electric car, this is your chance to get behind the wheel," said Samantha Bingham, coordinator, Chicago Area Clean Cities. "We're offering free test-drives of some of the newest, best-performing electric and hybrid vehicles. For many, this will be the first time they've had the chance to check out the great performance and environmental benefits of electric vehicles. We will have information about charging stations, as well."

The 2018 Chicago Auto Show is officially sanctioned by the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers. Founded in Paris in 1919, it is known as the Organisation Internationale des Constructeurs.

Founded in 1904, the Chicago Automobile Trade Association is one of the nation's largest metropolitan dealer organizations. It is comprised of more than 420 franchised new-car dealers and an additional 150 allied members. The group's dealer members employ about 20,000 people in the Chicago area.
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Title Annotation:Niche/Adv
Publication:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Date:Feb 11, 2018
Words:675
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