In 1908 Henry Ford changed the world when the First Model T rolled off the line. He didn’t invent the car but he produced an automobile almost anyone could afford. The Model T had only 2 forward gears, a 20 horsepower engine and no driver doors. Today we have vehicles than can open up, out and even backwards. We have seen vehicles that can top 260 miles per hour, vehicles with 500+ horsepower engines and 6 gears. They come in different sizes, shapes, colors and weight classes. We build them for speed, toughness, reliability, size, functionality and look. We’ve come a long way since the Model T and every year modern day auto enthusiasts flock to see the newest, hottest vehicles at North America’s largest auto show: The Chicago Auto Show.

©Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau
©Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau

Chicago’s first official auto show was held from March 23-30 in 1901. The eight day event took place at the Coliseum Exposition Hall near Chicago’s famous Michigan Avenue. Opening night was by invitation only for the top 20,000 families of Chicago. This year, the Chicago Auto Show is celebrating their 105th Edition kicking off February 9th and lasting through the 18th. It’s being hosted at the McCormick Place on Lake Shore Drive at 23rd Street. I am so excited and honored to have been invited to attending the 2 Day media preview February 7th and 8th as a partner of Nissan.

The two-day Media Preview features approximately 2,000 registered media and an additional 1,500 invited influencers (that’s me!), shouters and followers. On Thursday, we will be kicking off with the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) breakfast. MAMA will be presenting the 3rd annual Family Vehicle of the Year Award so be sure to follow me on Twitter to catch all the action live.

Following this presentation, I will be making my rounds to get the first glimpse of debut vehicles from some of the hottest car manufacturers like BMW, Chevrolet, Ford, Kia, Nissan, Ram, Shelby, Toyota and Volkswagen. Following these presentations, The Economic Club of Chicago will host a luncheon event where Henrik Fisker, co-founder, executive chairman, and chief designer at Fisker Automotive will be the guest speaker. I’m excited to see what he has to say.

“I am delighted to have the chance to talk about the unique story of Fisker Automotive to such an influential group. The dream I had of bringing an environmentally conscious luxury sedan from a concept to reality has been fulfilled by the Fisker Karma and I look forward to sharing some of that experience and insight with this distinguished audience,” – Henrik Fisker

2013 chicago auto show map

After a good nights beauty sleep (or a night out in ChiTown), Friday is Social Media Preview Day. If you interested in any of the following manufacturer events, make sure to follow the hashtag #SMP13 for the inside scoop on everything we’re seeing!

  • Nissan, Performance Inspired B’Fast
  • Fiat, 500L
  • Dodge, Mopar13
  • Edmunds, The Driverless Car
  • Jeep, Grand Cherokee
  • SRT, Viper
  • Hyundai, Santa Fe

The car industry has quickly realized the importance of social media and technology concerning the marketing, producing and brand imaging of their vehicles. Which is lucky for me, because this is the precise reason I’ve been invited to cover this event!

“We recognize the power of digital influence and want to honor those who spark social media conversations and engagement between automotive brands and consumers.” – Mark Bilek, Director of Communications and Technology, Chicago Auto Show

With this in mind, I’m interested in seeing who will win the Driving Engagement Awards. Two awards will be presented:

  • Best Social Media Campaign by an Automobile Manufacturer. This is awarded to an automaker that best engages with consumers through a recent social media campaign with measurable results. 
  • Top Digital Influencer Engagement at the 2013 Chicago Auto Show. This award will be presented to an individual who leverages social media throughout the 2013 Social Media Preview to engage with other attendees, influencers, automotive media and manufacturers.

Later in the day, there will also be a Technori Pitch Event. The Technori Pitch gives innovative companies a chance to pitch thier latest technologies infront of entrepreues, executies and enthusiast. The four startup companies scheduled to present are:

  • Parking Convenience Pioneers
  • SpotHero and FasPark
  • Auto repair estimate app Body Shop Bids
  • Budgeting tool

Following their presentations, the startups will be on the hot seat for a three-minute Q-and-A session. Everyone following along on twitter will be able to submit questions right from their phone so be sure to ask and stay tuned for their answers!

Just before catching a flight home, we will be able to participate in round tables with AutoWeek, Edmunds and to discuss current trends and issues.

  • Autoweek’s Associate Publisher and Editorial Director Dutch Mandel will host “Everything Is The Message – Media Are How We Get There.” The panel will include David Armano, Managing director of Edelman Digita; Scott Monty, global head of social media with Ford Motor Compan; and Simon Sproule, CVP of Nissan Marketing Communications.
  • Bill Visnic, senior editor from Edmunds, will host the second discussion entitled “The Driverless Car: How Do We Get There From Here.” Confirmed guests include head of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems Business Unit, NAFTA for Continental Automotive, Christian Schumacher and Nady Boules, the director of GM R&D’s Electrical and Controls Integration Research Lab.
  • Managing Editor Dave Thomas will host “Social Meets Mobile: How the Smartphone Revolution is impacting automotive publishing.” This panel will discuss how mobile is changing the car-buying process since car shoppers and enthusiasts alike are using smartphones and other mobile devices as a routine part of the research and buying process for new cars.If any of the above has a particular interest to you, please let me know. I am happy to ask questions, get info and take pictures of anything you guys are geeking out about!

Thank you to Nissan and The Chicago Auto Show for inviting me attend this event in person. My travel expenses have been provided. All opinions are 100% original.


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