The 2020 Chicago Auto Show
February 8th - 17th
By Chris Mulvihill
The 112th Chicago Auto Show opened to the public on February 8th. The nation’s largest and best attended auto show is held annually at McCormick Place and offers close to 1,000 cars. In addition to the display cars there are four indoor test tracks, three outdoor ride and drive opportunities and several interactive displays.
Ford’s entry into the Electric Vehicle (EV) segment is the 2021 Mustang Mach E. An interesting approach to cross-over the Mustang name (associated with horse power and racing) to an EV. According to Jason Mase, Mustang Mach E Marketing Manager this vehicle will appeal to ‘younger tech savvy folks’ between the ages of 35-49 from dual income homes. Ironically when the Mustang was introduced in 1964, it too was appealing to ‘younger’ folks.
With varying option packages, the Mach E will be available in AWD and a GT version capable of 0-60 under 4 seconds. With a gross vehicle weight (GVW) of 5,000lbs, it is amazing how fast this vehicle will move off the line. On a single charge the range is 250 to 300 miles (depending on battery package) and prices start at $45,900. Worldwide production numbers are estimated at 50,000 units and it will be interesting to see how quickly these sell. Ford is eliminating passengers cars (accept for the Mustang) from their product offering to focus on higher profit generating SUVs and trucks. An interesting approach that has yet to convince Wall Street.
Even with the emphasis on EVs, the best car at the show is the new mid-engine 2020 Corvette. This ground breaking Corvette is very impressive on all fronts. The all-new 6.2L dry sump V8 produces 495HP and is married to a new 8 speed dual clutch automatic transmission. When equipped with the Z51 Performance Package, the power train pushes this 3,366lbs rocket from 0 to 60 in 3 seconds. The interior is well designed using quality accents (which was an issue in past models). There is trunk space for a golf bag as well as a front ‘trunk’ allowing for a weekend bag. This Corvette is the Motor Trend Car of the Year as well as the MotorWeek Drivers’ Choice Car of the Year. With the base model starting at $60,000, there is no better performance car in the market for the money.
Interestingly some manufactures spoke of the EV ‘experience.’ It was interesting to see a reader board at the Ford Mach E display indicating 2,100 dealers will be certified to work on the EV system with 9,500 trained EV technicians already in the marketplace. They went further to identify 22 parts depot locations will be capable of delivering 95% of EV parts ‘next day.’ As a former Ford Division Field Manager, nothing instills buyer’s remorse faster than telling a customer their brand new car is ‘down’ due to a parts delay or undetectable technical issue. With the average car loan lasting over 5 years and monthly payments averaging $554, exceeding owner expectations is becoming increasing difficult.
This year’s auto show seemed to offer more variety than years past. Although some major manufacturers did not display cars (BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo), the new model offerings more than filled the gap. Almost every manufacturer was highlighting their EV as well as their pickup trucks/SUVs. The next 3-5 years will determine if the gamble on EV based platforms will pay off. Enjoy the show!
About the Author | Chris Mulvihill
Chris founded Classiccaradvisors.com in 2007. His passion for cars began as a young boy walking the service area of his grandfather’s Oldsmobile dealership. After graduating from Indiana University, his automobile knowledge expanded to the factory side as a Ford Motor Company Field Manager based in Los Angeles. During his time on the West Coast he began attending vintage car events where he established deep rooted friendships in the classic car industry. His interests are in the history of the cars, restoration and maximizing driving enjoyment.
Chris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org