Chicago Auto Show

Each year, a group of students who have participated in one of Mr. Anderson’s technical classes travel to the McCormick Center in Chicago for the annual Chicago Auto Show. While this may seem to some merely something for entertainment, there is much more to the trip. Throughout the time Anderson has been teaching technical courses, he has emphasized the importance of technology in our daily lives. Technology permeates our lives in nearly every way, and the Chicago Auto Show displays some of this technology being used to accentuate and improve the automotive industry.

The Auto Show was a feast for the eyes. First entering the building, the scale and grandeur of the venue the show is held in is more than enough to stun visitors. Food and various different product booths were on display, with everything from ribs to a newfangled squeegee for your car. This was only the tip of the iceberg. The Auto Show, to say the least, is gargantuan. It will take all day to see everything, without a doubt. All of the major automotive companies show up, and there is a tendency to rival each other- their displays are massive. One thing I noticed, that others might have not noticed, was the lighting. Usually the venue is light using florescent bulbs, however this venue was lit with hundreds, if not thousands, of professional concert-style lights. They were all white, of course, but nonetheless this shows how every detail was attended to.

In order to attract consumers, many of the companies handed out free items, with this year’s big item being carry-on, recyclable bags. Even if you had no intention of buying one of their vehicles, Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep offered free test ride-alongs in a closed course to show how stable and durable their vehicles actually were. The show may be heralded as a place to view expensive cars, however the companies catered to the average citizen as well. Many of the vehicles they offered were aimed at families and not just for show. They had performances to keep people entertained as well. Every half hour, Ford performed a dyno test on a Shelby Mustang GT500, bringing the 650HP beast up to full speed, 200 MPH. Afterward, Ford had a representative stand outside of the crowd and sign people up to do a free test drive of the vehicle of their choice, also registering them for a $50 MasterCard certificate. In addition to American and Foreign consumer cars, companies such as Lamborghini, Porsche, Aston Martin, BMW, Audi, and other top-of-the-line foreign showcased their higher-end vehicles. BMW had on display the 2012 3 Series, and the new 7 Series as well.
A big part of the show was the integration of green technology into vehicles. The Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi i, Scion iQ, Nissan Prius, and the Smart Car were all present, with a heavy influence over the displays. A big part of the sales pitch used on these cars was reduced emissions and more MPG. Many of the stands used to sell accessories were aimed at improving gas mileage as well. However, none of this actually helps the consumer until these cars are actually affordable. With price tags at $40,000 and above, not many people will be able to afford a greener car. It was a change, in any case- the show was aimed at not the rich and well-to-do, but the average American. It seemed as if the companies at the show really did want to help with MPG and getting the consumer more bang for their buck.
To say the least, the Chicago Auto Show was filled with expensive vehicles, and was a display of pure human ingenuity. They cater to nearly every taste, and that is what makes the show so popular every year.

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