The 2014 Chicago Auto Show

By Durhl Caussey, Epoch Times Contributor
February 12, 2014 Updated: February 12, 2014

The 2014 Chicago Automobile Trade Association runs from February 8-17. This is the 106th edition of the show. The CAS showcases a million square feet of showroom space with more than 1,000 vehicles, plus hundreds of interactive, aftermarket accessory and auto-related exhibits, competition vehicles, antiques, and collector cars.

General admission to the Chicago Auto Show is $12 for adults (ages 13-61), $6 for children (ages 7-12), and $6 for senior citizens (ages 62 and up). Children 6 or under enter free.

The excitement will take place at McCormick Place on Lake Shore Drive at 23rd Street. Show hours are from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Nissan Motors is the official sponsor for the show. 

Over 3,000 media and an additional 1,500 invited influencers, shouters, and followers will also be present. 

Over the past 22 years, the Chicago Auto Show has raised over $36 million for 18 local charities.

Leading the way at this year’s show will be the full-size pickup category, and the Big Three will set the pace. The 2014 Ram, 2015 Ford F-150, and the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado have ample things to brag about. 

The Ford F-150 will highlight the use of an aluminum body. The engine will have aluminum parts as well. The reduction of 700 pounds in weight will improve fuel economy without sacrificing strength and endurance. 

The Silverado has improved its powertrain technology. Both Silverado and Sierra have greatly improved their overall technology and features, while adding greatly to the quiet ride and quality of the truck.

The Ram 1500 has added a 3.0 L EcoDiesel V6, which gets even better mileage than the 25 highway mpg boasted by the 3.6 L Penstar V6.

The Big Three shouldn’t get too complacent, however. Fred Diaz, former President of Ram, now new senior Vice President Sales and Marketing, Nissan USA said, “In a year or two the Nissan Titan will be on par with the leaders in the truck segment.” Diaz helped to lead Ram into becoming a real contender with Ford and Chevrolet. Diaz just may be the man to lead this new Nissan truck renaissance. 

Toyota’s new Highlander has a greatly improved interior, and its seating capacity has grown from seven to eight. The Corolla features various technological upgrades and an improved interior, while boasting an estimated 42 mpg highway and 31 mpg city. 

Alternative-energy vehicles will be showcased center. The four dominant players are Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf, Toyota Prius PHV, and Tesla Model S. Each of these vehicles has become more affordable since first introduced. 

Nissan has moved the assembly of Leaf from Japan to Tennessee. A new Battery plant is also located near the factory and will provide its product, not just for Nissan, but for the industry. The new Leaf is larger, more powerful, and technologically gifted. Yet, it is priced $7,000 less than the introductory model. 

Toyota will be quick to tout the Sienna Minivan: Family-friendly offering plenty of room, safety, and fuel efficiency. There is also an available DVD entertainment system with 16.4-inch dual screens for movies and games on the road. That sure helps deliverance from the question, “Are we there yet” being heard a hundred times.

All manufacturers want to focus on the many safety features offered. Items that were once only offered in more luxury cars are now found on all car sizes and prices. One such example is airbags that protect everything from knees to shins, front, side, and back. 

The Toyota RAV4 is loaded with such features, but sells for less than $25,000. And the new Dodge Dart, though small, is packed with safety features and technology advances, yet sells for less than $22,000. Blind Spot Alert and Backup Camera with Cross Traffic Safety are examples of standard features found on most cars. 

Smart phone integration, dedicated voice command system, and numerous entertainment features are becoming common place on many models. 

Dave Sloan, Chicago Auto Show General manager sums up the Show nicely by saying, “Not only is the Chicago Show widely recognized as the nation’s most digitally-savvy show, we’re constantly striving to be a leading indicator of trends for the industry.”

Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this paper or dcaussey@sbcglobal.net.

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