Rauner, Emanuel And Other Dignitaries Cut The Ribbon Of The 109th Chicago Auto Show

CHICAGO (CBS) — The 109th Chicago Auto Show is open for business.

Dignitaries opened the show with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, then took a look.

People line up for opening day at the 109th Chicago Auto Show (Credit: WBBM/Bob Roberts)

People line up for opening day at the 109th Chicago Auto Show (Credit: WBBM/Bob Roberts)

Lines of people waiting to enter were long for an hour before Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Governor Bruce Rauner took the stage, Rauner calling it a “great day” for the city and state. WBBM’s Bob Roberts reports.

“Illinois has such a rich history with the auto industry,” said Governor Rauner, in a statement. “The Chicago Auto Show is an annual opportunity for us to highlight that Illinois is home to the fourth largest auto employment base in the United States. Not only is this a positive for the auto industry, it also brings hundreds of thousands of visitors into our state and boosts the local economy.”

The Chicago Auto Show dates back to 1901. Every year nearly 1,000 vehicles and auto-related exhibits are on display featuring everything from accessories to collector cars.

“The auto industry is the fourth largest employer in Illinois,” said Andria Winters, President of Intersect Illinois, in a statement. “We continue to see an influx of investment and opportunities for those in the automobile industry and their suppliers. This event is a great display of what our state has to offer.”

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Mayor Rahm Emanuel tour the floor of the 2017 Chicago Auto Show (Credit: WBBM/Bob Roberts)

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Mayor Rahm Emanuel tour the floor of the 2017 Chicago Auto Show (Credit: WBBM/Bob Roberts)

Ford and Chrysler both build cars in Illinois, Ford on the South Side and Chrysler in Belvidere. The governor and mayor toured both exhibits, posed for photos with executives and fans, and even put down $20 a piece toward a Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation raffle that has a blue 1971 Ford Mach One Mustang as grand prize.

Other car companies have recently invested in projects across Illinois. Rivian Automotive announced the purchase of the old Mitsubishi plant in Normal for a state-of-the-art project, expected to create over 1,000 jobs once in full production.

The show runs through Feb. 20.

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