2010 Chicago Auto Show February 12th-21st

The Chicago Auto Show, a Broadway extravaganza for gearheads and the people who love them, began its 10-day run Friday. The 102nd edition of the show features new talent and impressive sets spread over two halls at McCormick Place. But it retains a plot line that has held up well over the years.

It's the idea that face-to-face marketing makes a difference. The age has us shopping on screens and not really knowing what we bought until the UPS truck shows up. Some people buy cars that way, too, putting specifications into spreadsheets. But the Auto Show is all about the look, touch and smell of the car, plus easy comparison shopping without having a commissioned salesman on your trail.

Car makers are using the show to burnish their green credentials. At least 15 gas-electric hybrid models will be on display, including the upcoming Chevy Volt, and dozens more offer an alternative-fuel option, such as propane or natural gas.

Attendees will notice another theme, said Dave Sloan, president of the Chicago Automobile Trade Association, the show's sponsor. It's the comeback of the passenger car, not the minivan or the SUV or the econobox or the weird squares on wheels. It's the passenger car, trim and fuel-efficient but stylish and packed with features.

Despite high unemployment, Sloan still expects large crowds that will translate into higher traffic in dealer showrooms. "There was interest in the 'Cash for Clunkers' program. ... There's a lot of pent-up demand," he said.

The show is slightly smaller than the last two years', although visitors still need comfortable walking shoes. Gone are the brands General Motors jettisoned in its reorganization: Pontiac, Hummer and Saturn. Its Saab brand survived with a last-minute sale, but the new owners couldn't commit to the show.

In a spasm of cost-cutting, Nissan said it and its Infiniti brand would skip the show. Just a week ago, after howling by its dealers, Nissan reversed course and decided they just have to be there. Generations of Chicago car enthusiasts know exactly how that feels.

The one car I am dying to see is the Cadillac XTS Platinum concept car. I'm in love and haven't even seen it in person yet check this out:

It was designed from the inside out and features a 3.6 liter direct injection V-6, paired with a plug-in hybrid system that combines to produce 350 horsepower. All wheel drive distributes the output where needed to 20-inch wheels, which are guided by Magnetic Ride Control. Inside tech features abound with an Organic Light-Emitting Diode displays replacing traditional gauges and screens. The display screen is blended into the instrument panel resulting in a minimum of buttons and switches. A layered and detailed interior features premium leather and suede. Wheelbase is 115 inches, length 203.5 and width 74.8. That isn't even the half of what it offers

The Auto Show will run from Friday, February 12th-21st 10:00 A.M.- 10:00 P.M. Tickets are $11 for Adults, $7 for Seniors 62 or older, $7 for children 7-12 Children 7 & under are free. There are also events throughout the day and activities for the children. So much it was too much to post here. If you have never been to the Auto Show it is well worth the trip. For more information visit www.chicagoautoshow.com. Hope to see ya there, you already know where I will be!!!

Ms. Jai

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