Chicago Auto Show postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic; annual McCormick Place event pushed to spring

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The 2021 Chicago Auto Show has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, though organizers stopped short of canceling it entirely.

"I think this shows a resiliency for the Chicago Auto Show and for hopefully the future," said Jenni Newman, editor in chief of Cars.com.

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Rather than becoming yet another casualty of the pandemic, the Chicago Automobile Trade Association is pushing back the date of the show, at least for now. They said in part, "State officials are currently reviewing our plan. While our traditional February dates are unlikely, we are hopefully to be able to stage the show sometime in the Spring."

"The Chicago auto show is put on by the local Chicago dealers, so I think the commitment to keeping the show, wanting to make sure there is a doable date in the near future is a really good sign not only for the show but also for the dealers here," Newman said.

The hope for some springtime show could give dealerships and union workers something to look forward to. The pandemic has all but shuttered McCormick Place since March, leaving thousands of hourly event employees with little source of income.

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"Everyone whose success and livelihood is tied directly to our ability to host world class trade shows and live events," said Anthony DeGrado, United Steelworkers president. "I know I am not alone when I share with you that we have all felt the effects of this pandemic.

"It's bene a long year, it's going to be a long winter. It could make the difference between putting food on their table or not, especially if the unemployment benefits expire," said John Coli, Teamsters Local 727.

The show has long been a place for car lovers to eye and touch what's unreachable in real life, and after months inside it may jut provide the kind of small late spring escape that car fans will be longing for.

"There's a lot of good things happening in car industry even during pandemic, so I think it will allow shoppers to come and see the vehicles that have been debuting all this year and kick the tires and maybe get serious about buying a new car," Newman said.
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