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CHICAGO AUTO SHOW 2013

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CHICAGO AUTO SHOW 2013

In the never-ending quest to bring to you the most pertinent and up to date information about cars and car people, TopSpeed.com will be attending the press preview days of the Chicago Auto Show next week, beginning this coming Tuesday, February 5th. The public show opens February 8th and runs through the 17th, at McCormick Place on Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive.

Which means that if you’re captivated by that new Challenger enough to buy one, by the time you’re ready to trade it for something new, the offerings at the Chicago Auto Show 2013 are likely to be very different.

. . . more after the jump

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the show, and promises to have some major attractions. These include the expected introduction of the Dodge Dodge Challenger, and of Volkswagen Volkswagen ’s minivan, the possible revealing of a GMC GMC concept “ute” and, possibly, something new from Chevrolet Chevrolet . Hummer Hummer will also be showing its new H3T pick-up for the first time, and Mitsubishi Mitsubishi will introduce a face-lifted 2009 Gallant. Suzuki is expected to have a new mid-size truck on display, and Porsche will display the new Cayenne GTS.

The Chicago show, of course, follows the North American International Auto Show in Detroit by less than a month. While the Chicago show does not, traditionally, have the buzz associated with the Detroit show, which is attended by many high-level industry executives from the United States, Europe, and Asia, the Chicago show offers manufacturer’s much more reach. McCormick place offers manufacturers a display area approximately three times larger than Cobo Hall, the home of the Detroit show. This allows manufacturers to display their entire line-up at Chicago, something few can do in Detroit.

The new Dodge Challenger is likely, of course, to be the star of the Chicago show, the culmination of years of rumors. Chrysler chose to unveil the new Dodge Ram at the Detroit show, so the Challenger will have center stage at Dodge’s exhibit all to itself.

The Challenger will be a significant vehicle, almost regardless of its reception at Chicago. It marks the first real competition for the Mustang and is the prelude to General Motors entry into the same market segment with the Camaro. It’s a significant vehicle for Chrysler, which would like to squeeze one more hit out of the platform previously employed for the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger.

Yet, the Challenger may also be a throw-back car, even as it has its first public viewing. The car was designed and approved when Chrysler was still DaimlerChrysler, and the business plan for its production could not have envisioned the new CAFE fuel economy regulations just enacted by Congress.

Of course, auto shows always tend to be, at least a bit, about the past. Even though they show the newest offerings, those cars were conceived five years earlier. So, auto shows are about how well the car companies anticipated the future.

This year’s Chicago show will particularly reflect that paradox, as much of what will be on display as concept cars focus on alternative fuels, fuel economy, ethanol-based E85, and hybrid powertrains. That’s what the car companies are thinking about now.

Which means that if you’re captivated by that new Challenger enough to buy one, by the time you’re ready to trade it for something new, the offerings at the Chicago Auto Show 2013 are likely to be very different.



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