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The Chicago Auto Show's First Look for Charity mixes high fashion, delicious food and fast cars at McCormick Place Friday night - and it's all to raise millions of dollars for local charities.
"We raise money for 18 local charities. We're looking to go over $2.5 million this year. We've raised over $53 million over the last 29 years. It's a great event, black tie and a red carpet," said Chicago Auto Show Chairman Tony Guido.
Hundreds arrived in black tie and gowns to celebrate Chicago philanthropy and enjoy a first look at the finest new automobiles on the planet.
"It's a significant opportunity to give back and also support organizations like Catholic Charities and others in the Chicagoland area that have been doing such great work for a long time," said James Young, who is supporting Catholic Charities.
The First Look for Charity precedes the kickoff to the public show tomorrow, a gift to 18 big-time charities form the Chicago Automotive Trade Association.
The estimated proceeds of Friday's event are expected to top $3 million.
One thousand cars are on display at the nation's largest auto show, made more prominent now that the Detroit auto show has moved to June. As many as 1 million people are expected to descend upon McCormick Place and soak up the thrill of sampling new cars and the visions of freedom they represent.
The Chicago Auto Show opens to the public Saturday morning.
That means is more world introductions. As far as trends, the SUV still tops the list!
With nearly 1,000 vehicles to choose from, show-goers still gravitate to the SUV for its size, ride height and versatility.
Genesis is introducing its new mid-sized SUV at the show, and new to the category: Tweeners! SUVs that are in between a compact and sub-compact, like the Buick Encore GX and the Chevy Trailblazer.
The other trend is more hybrids and fully electric vehicles. The new Ford Mustang Mach-E has a 300 mile range, Audi E-Tron is a fully electric SUV and the Porsche Taycon will be available later this year.
"What we know from electrics, unlike gas powered vehicles, they can be quick and exciting and efficient at the same time," said Cars.com Executive Editor Joe Wiesenfelder.
On the Ford Mach E, Ford marketing manager Lisa Teed said, "This is fun, fast and we call it full of freedom. Freedom from all the complexities you used to have in your life."
On the technology front, your car is becoming a lot more like your phone and updates can be made wirelessly through the cloud.
"They will update essentially anything that is controlled by a computer code and in a car that's a lot nowadays," Wisenfelder said. "This is a huge development and really powerful technology for a car."
The Ford Mustang Mach E and the Cadillac CT5 are among a handful of vehicles at the show with this technology. Expect dozens of models to have wireless update capability in a couple of years!
One car making its world premier at the Chicago Auto Show is a new version of the Toyota Highlander.
"This is a variant that is a lot more sporty than your conventional Highlander and we think it is going to get a lot of converts, especially Gen-X," said Curtis McAllister of Toyota.
Toyota also has a test track to check out all of their cars.
This year's show has lots of new features, including the STEAM Machine mobile science lab from Ford. Inside, it gives kids an opportunity to do science experiments including riding a bike to learn about kinetic energy.
Don't miss "ABC7 Presents the 2020 Chicago Auto Show" live at 6 p.m. on Saturday, February 8 on ABC7.