The 108th edition of the Chicago Auto Show rolled into town like the wind the city of which it is nicknamed. You have, by now, heard and read countless press about the new unveils and breakthrough models. Here, at Motoring Exposure, I chose to do something a little different. I will give you some of the takeaways I left the show with. Some you will agree with, some you won’t. That’s why I encourage every enthusiast to go to a motoring exhibition show for themselves. The experience is amazing and the memories are countless. It will also change your perspective on the industry and either cement your love or reconsider your allegiance to a brand or model. That’s what it did for me. Here we go…
Let’s start with the Pre-Show Press event that was hosted by Nissan. The company’s North American Marketing Manager, Phil O’ Connor, showed off its new Armada. I’m sure you’ve seen it before, perhaps in the guise of an Infiniti QX80. The truck was shown in an arresting color and fully equipped. They put together a rather nice unveiling as well. Presentation is everything and Japanese carmakers know that. This is why I enjoy going to their events. The Armada unveiling was modern but classy. Nissan makes no bones about its new design direction with the new truck’s front-end styling. Personally, I was hoping that the Armada would take a different design path. Guess the bottom line really is the bottom line. Take a look at the preview for yourself.
Nissan Armada Unveiling Gallery
Next up was the Official Media Preview days which began with the Annual MAMA Press Breakfast. There, Volvo received the award for MAMA Vehicle of the Year. A good choice in my humble opinion. With all the great strides and fantastic product Volvo (of China) is presenting, I’m not surprised that the Media Association recognized it. The show floor opened where I was elated to see Kia take its usual place as the first on the schedule. Hybrids ruled the event, but so did local music students from Chicago. While the new Niro may not be the looker of the presentation, it is a headliner as the first dedicated Hybrid Crossover. The Telluride Concept, K900 and Cadenza caught my eye and I think that Kia may well find itself as a contender to Mazda or even Toyota by taking a stronger hold of the market in the next few years. Enjoy the Kia presentation for yourself here:
Kia Motors Presentation
Next, it was on to Camp Jeep. The Jeep presentation always gives you a ride-a-long that showcases the vehicle’s capability. We took the ride and let me tell you, if you are going to do it, you should do it in the vehicle that made the brand, the Wrangler Rubicon, if you please. This ride was jam-packed with hitch-hikers, articulated suspension and uphill charging so aggressive that the camera actually stopped rolling. Apologies.
FCA provided another ride-a-long next to its Jeep exhibit. Accompanied by my younger photographers and protégé’s, we lined up for Hellcats and were rewarded with Challenger and Charger 392 Scat Packs. Sounds like a step down, however, the performance is on par with the image set by the now-defunct SRT division. See for yourself here: