The doors of McCormick Place in downtown Chicago open once again for the 2011 Chicago Auto Show. The event runs from Friday, February 11 through Saturday, February 20. The focus of this year’s show for many manufacturers is to exhibit cars that are fun to drive and offer new standards of energy efficiency. Examples of companies that will promote fuel efficiency include Hyundai, Toyota and General Motors.
Hyundai is touting that its fleet will average 40 mpg by 2025. Reports say that the Korean auto maker is on pace to having a fleet that averages 30 mpg by 2015. Toyota will showcase its three new Prius models -- the Prius, Prius C, and Prius V. Toyota will also exhibit a new Prius plug-in model that is expected to be introduced to the market in 2012. Chevrolet will be exhibiting its new Volt. In fact, the company has created a driving track at the show and is inviting visitors to ride on it in a Volt. Dodge will be focusing on cars that are fun to drive and will be unveiling a new ad campaign that pushes the point called “Never Neutral.”
Other extraordinary things at this year’s show include Ford’s rock climbing wall, a talking robot and the chance for visitors to create digital graffiti. Visitors can also make their own commercials at the Toyota exhibit. In addition, Toyota has created the “Toyota Drive Center” complete with natural elements like gravel, mounds of dirt and logs. Professional drivers will drive specific Toyota models through the course to demonstrate their durability. The models include the 4Runner, Highlander, Highlander Hybrid, RAV4 and Tundra.
Hybrids will be a major attraction. Companies that will be exhibiting their hybrid models include BMW (7-Series, X6), Lexus (GS, HS 250h, LS, RX, CT 200h), Cadillac (Escalade), Chevrolet (Silverado, Tahoe), Lincoln (MKZ), Ford (Escape, Fusion), Mercedes-Benz (S-Class), GMC (Sierra, Yukon), Nissan (Altima), Toyota (Prius, Prius C, Prius V, Camry, Highlander), Honda (Civic, Insight), Hyundai (Sonata), Kia (Optima) and Volkswagen (Touareg).
Companies showing off their electric cars include Chevrolet (Volt), Honda (Fit EV), Ford (2012 Focus Electric, Ford Transit Connect), and Nissan (Leaf).
Companies showing concept cars include Ford (Vertrek), Hyundai (HCD-12 Curb), GMC (Terrain HD), Kia (KV7) and Honda (Civic Concept).
Companies will also be debuting new cars as well. For example, Chrysler will be unveiling its new 2011 Chrysler 200 Convertible.
The Chicago Auto Show started in 1901. The 2011 show is the 103rd.