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2009 Auto Show Recap

By Benjy Lipsman in Arts & Entertainment on Feb 16, 2009 4:40PM

2009_02_auto_show_recap_vol.jpg As promised, Chicagoist checked out the 2009 Chicago Auto Show over the weekend. And as suspected, the show was a smaller event than in recent years. While most auto makers still had their wares on the show floor -- Porsche was the noticeable exception -- the brands clearly scaled back their displays in both decor and in terms of the numbers of cars on the floor. This was especially evident for the larger brands, who used to feature a number of their most popular models for attendees to check out in all the various trim levels. In booth after booth this year, however, just one of each model beckoned people to check it out.

And yet the lines to climb inside the cars was no worse than in years' past, so it seemed that attendance was down as well. Were people not willing to shell out $10 to lust after cars they could never afford? Did people not want to tempt themselves into a new car with their jobs in limbo? Or did the scaled down show offer an excuse to skip a year.

While consumers want to drive something new and stylish, the high gas prices of recent years have car buyers also wanting a cheaper way to get around, as well as a car that's better for the environment. This "green" trend was apparent in most of the concept cars at the show, which featured some sort of alternative fuel propulsion -- from the highly touted Chevy Volt, to the Dodge Circuit EV, to the Lexus 250H. Toyota also showed off their latest version of the popular Prius, while Honda debuted their Element -- a virtual Prius clone.

Our favorite concept, of course, was probably the one gas guzzler among 'em -- the Corvette Stingray, which marries the modern 'Vette with styling cues from the '60's classic. Given the popularity of '60's retro cues in American muscle cars of late -- see Ford Mustang, Dodge Challenger, Chevy Camaro -- is it only a matter of time before GM putts this on the road, too?

For those who still want to check out Auto Show, it continues until Feb. 22, open daily from 10am - 10pm (until 8pm on final day). Tickets cost $10 for adults and $5 for seniors and kids.

Photo by Benjamin Lipsman/Chicagoist