CHICAGO — The Chicago Auto Show, held Feb. 11-20 at McCormick Place in Chicago, capped off its 115th edition with a 52% increase in attendance over 2022, with 300,000 attendees flocking to the show floor, which spanned more than 1 million square feet, to check out all things automobile.
“We grew back into a two-hall show in 2023, signaling the rebounding strength of the Chicago Auto Show from an exhibitor participation standpoint,” Chicago Automobile Trade Association President and Chicago Auto Show General Manager Jennifer Morand said. “The brand-new 100,000 square foot Chicago Drives Electric indoor EV test track also helped us grow back into a two-hall show. That track was triple the size of the indoor EV track in 2022.”
The show featured eleven test track and test drive experiences in total, giving attendees more opportunities to test out vehicles than ever before. Nearly 150,550 in-vehicle driving experiences occurred over the course of the ten-day show. Camp Jeep, which features an indoor track including a 28-foot hill climb and descent, celebrated its 3 millionth rider at the Chicago Auto Show, which has accounted for more than 600,000 of those rides.
“The amount of positive feedback we received on social media from attendees of the summer 2021 show was stronger than it had ever been,” Morand said. “We learned just how much attendees loved all the ride and drive opportunities, and they kept people at the show longer, so we took that feedback and brought all that excitement indoors to the 2023 Chicago Auto Show in the form of test tracks. The Auto Show really is in motion, there’s so many activities going on.”
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Morand said the Chicago Auto Show has been able to use social media not only for a way to gather feedback but also to keep people engaged. “We work hand-in-hand with our exhibitors on content that we distribute through our social media outlets year-round. Their messaging serves as a blueprint for us throughout the entire year. In addition, we use the 10-day Chicago Auto Show and generate nuggets of stories that we share with our fans over the course of 365 days.”
Exhibitors at the show offered a variety of engaging activations for attendees, such as Toyota’s Sports Festival, which gave people the chance to try some hands-on Olympic activities. Subaru’s National Parks immersive exhibit featured hundreds of live plants, scents and sounds and its daily dog adoption helped find more than 50 homeless dogs forever homes. The craft beer sampling event, Friday Night Flights, attracted double the number of attendees compared to 2020.
“Exhibitor feedback has been incredible, exactly what a show organizer would want to hear. They’re reporting exceeding expectations when it comes to foot traffic as well as test drives and ride-and-drives. The sentiment is all positive and how good it feels that the show is strong coming out of the pandemic,” Morand said.
The Chicago Auto Show is slated to return to McCormick Place Feb. 10-19, 2024, with the First Look for Charity event taking place on Feb. 9, 2024.
Reach Jen Morand at (630) 424-6084 or email@example.com