Product specialists keep Chicago Auto Show attendees informed

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Product Specialists are on hand at the Chicago Auto Show to help educatie consumers about the products on display. (WLS)

You still have four days left to check out the 2018 Chicago Auto Show.

The Chicago Auto Show is the largest consumer show in North America. Product specialists are at every manufacturers exhibit, giving details, specs and all kinds of information on several vehicles. The product specialists, as they are now known, evolved from the models who weren't allowed to talk about cars to specialists who can answer any question consumers throw out there.

"We do a very robust training prior to the season starting and then we do another training through the season and they're standing next to cars 50 to 100 days a year so these people become the experts on automobiles," said Matthew Troyer, director of training at Production Plus - The Talent Shop.

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Friday is Hispanic Heritage Day at the Chicago Auto Show.

"It's always kind of delightful to see that stereotype broken because someone will come into the Auto Show, especially if you're anywhere near a truck or SUV and they'll be assuming a female product specialist won't know anything about it," Troyer said. "And then they might ask one question thinking she's not gonna be able to answer and boom - she nails it!"

The company is the brainchild of Margery Krevsky-Dosey, who some 40 years ago saw the need for change and created a talent agency that would make that dream a reality.

Productions Plus - The Talent Shop represents nearly 650 product specialists throughout the country. For many of them, what started as a gig, turned into a career.

Anthony Russo was in art school, doing some emcee work on the side and heard about the product specialists.
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You still have four days left to check out the 2018 Chicago Auto Show.

"I honestly started out as somebody that knew they were cool, shiny and I used to draw them in art school, and then I realized as I started learning about cars I truly became a car guy!" said Nissan product specialist Anthony Russo.
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The Chicago Auto Show is holding its Hispanic Heritage Day Friday.

Shehara Downing was working in marketing when she saw product specialists at the Chicago Auto Show. She applied, got hired, trained and was doing her first auto show within a year. Eleven years later she's pleased to see attitudes starting to change.

"It's not just a bunch of pretty gals and now, good looking guys who are standing there as an accessory to the car. They now know that we can actually equip them with info they need so they can make better buying decisions," Downing, a product specialist at Toyota.

"It is much different that what people believe," Downing said. "I think people are finally catching on to the fact that when they come to the Auto Show, they will get educated, they will get some information."

For Hispanic Heritage Day at the Auto Show on Friday, many product specialists will be giving their presentations in English and Spanish. Just as the Auto Show has changed over the years, so has the way the information is presented to consumers.
Saul Ibarra has a background in communications and theater - and he's bilingual, an ideal formula for a product specialist.

"For me it's the most rewarding when I have people from the Hispanic community reach out to me and say that's really nice that someone is representing our heritage who's bilingual," Ibarra said.

The 2018 Chicago Auto Show runs through Sunday February 18.

Click Here for ABC7's 2018 Chicago Auto Show Guide.

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