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Chicago Auto Show opens for media preview


CHICAGO (Xinhua) -- The 106th Chicago Auto Show (CAS) opened here for media preview Thursday and will officially open to the public on Feb. 8-17 at the McCormick Place.

Nearly 1,000 vehicles from major manufacturers around the world have been put on display this year.

"Over the years, we have staged a number of our most important product reveals here," said Bob Carter, senior vice president of Automotive Operations Toyota Motor Sales in the United States.

Carter gave a keynote speech at the media breakfast meeting, calling CAS the "Midwest's premier auto industry showcase."

Kia, Toyota, Nissan, Subaru, Chevrolet, Volvo, Volkswagen, and BMW all made introductions throughout the day, announcing the reveal of more than a dozen new cars and trucks.

In addition to the display of vehicles, CAS also features three indoor test tracks and multiple outdoor ride-and-drive opportunities.

"We have an all-new Jeep Cherokee this year," Jim Morrison, director of Jeep Brand Product Marketing, told Xinhua.

Jeep has set up one of the indoor test tracks, providing opportunities for consumers to experience a ride under different conditions.

Morrison said the new Cherokee features a nine-speed system with a low range. "It's a great drive," he said. The model also has parallel and perpendicular parking assist, he added.

Morrison said the new Cherokee will be introduced in the United States in a couple of months and will be available in China later this year.

Ford features a new two-door Mastung coupe at the show.

Steven Ling, manager of Ford's North American Car Marketing, told Xinhua that this sports coupe has a new platform and engineering.

He said the new model was showcased at the Shanghai Auto Show in December last year and will be introduced to China later this year.

"This will be the first Mastung ever introduced to China," said Ling. "It's a fun car...It's fun to look at, fun to drive, and fun to show it to others."

Ford also features a new F-150 pick-up truck at the show. Truck Marketing Manager Doug Scott said it is the best selling pick-up truck for 32 consecutive years and a "revolution" in the industry.

The upper body is made of high strength aluminum alloy rather than steel, reducing 700 pounds in weight for the vehicle.

Ford's pick up trucks are not sold in China, but all its utility vehicles, including Edge, Explorer and Escape, are available.

"China is a very important market for us," said Mark Schirmer, manager of North American Product Communications.

He said Ford sold approximately 6.5 million vehicles in 2013, of which about 2.5 million were sold in the United States, and over 1 million in China.

Chicago staged its first auto show in 1901, and CAS is the longest and largest in the United States.



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