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Auto Show wraps up

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The public exhibition of the Chicago Auto Show—North America's largest event of its kind—ended its run Feb. 20 at McCormick Place. It was the 103rd edition of the show.

The 2011 show spanned 1.2 million sq. ft. of the complex. There were multiple world and North American introductions and a complete range of domestic and imported passenger cars and trucks; sports-utility vehicles, experimental and concept cars. In all, approximately 1,000 different vehicles will be on display, plus hundreds of interactive, aftermarket, accessories and auto-related exhibits, competition vehicles, antique and collector cars.

Organizers estimate that the 10-day show experienced a 10-percent increase in attendance over last year.

Highlights were many. In addition to the massive exhibition, were Chicago Mayor Richard Daley regarding electric vehicle recharging infrastructure and even an announcement from Toyota about what the public selected as the plural of Prius ( "Prii" ) —a term that will now include. In addition, the black-tie affair First Look for Charity raised $1.9 million, which will be split among 18 charities.

A lowlight occurred Feb. 16 when three men used razor knives and screwdrivers to rip the interiors of seven new Toyotas at the show, according to the Chicago Tribune. The attacks caused about $30,000 in damage. The men, from Orland Park, damaged a Camry, a black Tundra, a black Lexus ES350, a black RAV4, a black Land Cruiser, a blue Prius and a red Tundra. One of the three suspects had a gripe against Toyota; he was a Pontiac employee who claimed he did not like Toyota's union policies.

Next year's public show will take place Feb. 10-19, 2012.

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