Chicago Auto Show 2021 features luxury cars, EVs, even puppies

Chicago Auto Show dates: McCormick Place event July 15-19

Friday, July 16, 2021
The Chicago Auto Show 2021 opens Thursday at a new McCormick Place location, featuring plenty of new activities.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Special Edition Chicago Auto Show is underway, and you can come for the cars and even end up with a four-legged friend.

The popular event at Chicago's McCormick Place is back after a pandemic hiatus.

""I can't tell you how happy I am to be able to say welcome to the 113th Chicago Auto Show," said Dave Sloan, general manager of the Chicago Auto Show.

This year's show might be shorter and smaller, but still offers plenty to explore and ride.

The weather is much warmer than during the traditional February show, meaning more chances for test drives on real city streets! Plus, this year's event added a new outdoor festival for the first four nights.

There were a lot of people at the Subaru set-up Thursday morning for the dog adoption event, which is going on every day of the show. The puppies are from Hopeful Tails Animal Rescue of Joliet, and there is a protocol to adopting.

But people are just happy to be at the event, no matter the reason, even though it's in a much smaller space in the middle of the summer.

"I'm excited about it; I'm happy," Delores Jackson said. "I want to get out of the house, in a nice environment, so it's good."

WATCH | Organizers get ready for Chicago Auto Show on preview day

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This is Adriane Easte's first time at the auto show. She brought her great-grandnephew with her to spend some quality time looking at quality vehicles.

"We talk cars, and he don't think I know, but I know a little bit about cars," she said. "I'm looking forward to just seeing what they have and enjoying that."

By 10 a.m., the place was already bustling with people looking forward to browsing the new layout, new cars and new fest outside.

"It's late but it's on time!" Cleveland Jackson said. "It's exciting; I'm ready for it."

PANEL | Family vehicles at Chicago Auto Show

ABC7's Roz Varon hosts a panel discussion focusing on family vehicles on display at the 2021 Chicago Auto Show.

Governor J.B. Pritzker was even on-site Thursday to celebrate the show's return as the first major convention at McCormick Place since the pandemic began.

"We're filling up our restaurants and our bars and our hotels, and it means life is back in this city," Pritzker said.

The governor added that all of the reopening is made possible by vaccines, as the show also kept an eye on COVID safety.

"We don't want to create a show floor that's so congested that people are a little leery of coming, and so by buying tickets online, we can meter people every day," said Mark Bilek, director of communications for the Chicago Auto Show.

Whether you're in the market to buy, or just looking for something fun to do coming out of the COVID pandemic, there's something for everyone at this special edition show. You can even imagine yourself in a slick Lamborghini.

"In the back of the Auto Show near the blood drive you'll find the Bugatti Chiron, and that is $3 million!" said Jennifer Morand, auto show public relations director.

For the environmentally-conscious consumer, you'll be seeing more electric vehicles than ever before, including the EV6 from Kia.

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"This car looks like an SUV, drives like a sports car, lots of room inside, lot of fun stuff you can play with, a beautiful interior, but really the ride is everything," said Michael McHale, director of brand experience at Kia.

One of the most significant EVs at the show is the best-selling Ford F-150 Lightning.

"They've designed a system that will automatically serve as a back-up generator for your home, so it's charging, charging, charging, and, if your power cuts out, it will automatically reverse direction and power your home!" said Joe Wiesenfelder, executive editor at

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And if you're looking for a ride with room for a new pup, Subaru can supply both. Their Pet Adoption event has been going strong, giving over 230,000 pets nationwide a new forever home since 2013.

You may remember the Lost Corvettes from last year's show -- 36 were found in a garage, restored, and raffled off, with proceeds going to Stand for the Troops to help veterans with traumatic brain injuries.

"Unfortunately, due to COVID, we could not get parts for the cars, so the cars didn't get restored, so now we've extended the sweepstakes so people go to they can still win one of 14 remaining cars, six of which we have behind me," said Chris Mazzilli, with Corvette Heroes/Dream Car Restoration.

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There are only two 1969 Corvette ZL-1s. The original is worth $3 million. Dreams can come true.

If you're planning a trip down to McCormick Place, remember it's now in the west building, and you cannot buy tickets in person. You must buy online.