Chicago Auto Show Brings Rides and Drives to Visitors

Jeep Test Track Chicago Auto Show

CHICAGO –RIS – There is no doubt the economy is picking up. Auto manufacturers were crawling all over themselves to get media attention during the big Los Angeles and Detroit auto shows.  And the Chicago Auto Show – the nation’s largest - is no exception.

A full day and a half of news conferences had a recurring theme – the auto industry may have been down, but it was never out. As a matter of fact, it was the strength of the auto industry that kept the U.S. from suffering a deeper recession than it did.

The new car displays at this year’s Chicago Auto Show seem bigger and there is more optimism displayed by some of the most jaded automotive journalists that, two year’s ago, had the auto industry laid to rest.

Chrysler Group now has seven brands with the addition of Mopar to its vehicle product mix of Ram, Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep, SRT and Fiat. The company set up three indoor test circuits at the Chicago Auto Show to allow visitors to actually sample their new vehicles.

Jeep has an obstacle course that treats visitors to rides in its product line. Ram has a similar indoor track that challenges its trucks to successfully navigate humps, bumps and inclines. There is also a 200 foot long skid pad offering consumers the thrill of acceleration then sudden deceleration caused by braking in Dodge Challengers, Chargers and Fiats.

Chevrolet moved its indoor track to a street outside McCormick Place to showcase its Volt electric vehicle.

And, not to be outdone, Toyota is also offering auto show visitors product samples with its indoor circuit based on a Monopoly Game board.

But the stakes in this game are not paid in Monopoly money.

The Chicago Auto Show opens to the public February 10th and continues through February 19th.

Dave Chess

Dave Chess has been writing for RIS since the late 1980s during the CompuServe days. His work has also appeared in Auto Week magazine, Chicago Gearhead News newspaper, ATA airlines in-flight magazine, National Speed Sport News and on many websites.

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Volume 2011, Issue 10, Posted 7:55 PM, 02.08.2012