Chicago Auto Show attendance rises 10%

By Emily Bryson York
Posted Feb. 21 at 2:43 p.m.

The 2011 Chicago Auto Show reported a 10 percent increase in attendance over last year. The 10-day show closed Sunday. The Chicago Automobile Trade Association, which represents the area’s new-car dealer franchises and produces the auto show, did not provide exact figures.

“Our manufacturers and dealers had hoped to see a bump in interest this year, and they weren’t disappointed,” Dave Sloan, the auto show’s general manager said in a statement. He added that the “heightened interest in a recovering auto industry, coupled with a warmer-than-normal February and strong buzz in the community helped achieve the show’s gains.”

While the show’s opening weekend was stronger than a year ago, attendance lagged over Valentine’s Day. Last Saturday, however, “was among the best days we’ve ever had,” Sloan said.

Another key driver: a reduction in parking fees for those dropping by in the evening, Sloan said. Now the real test will be whether increased interest results in auto sales. “If the boost in our attendance is any indicator, I predict we’ll see a continuation of the increases we’ve been observing in monthly sales,” Sloan said.

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