CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s been an up and down ride for the auto industry as of late. Supply is way down, sending prices sky high.

That’s the backdrop as the Chicago Auto Show opens on Thursday.

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CBS 2’s Jackie Kostek reports it’s one of the first events at McCormick Place since the pandemic.

In some ways, the Auto Show is lucky. The 2020 show went on as planned in February, right before COVID crippled the world.

The 2021 show is about five months later than normal, but for everyone here, the feeling is definitely better late than never.

A suburban couple among the thousands checking out the Auto Show on day one knew exactly what they wanted to see: the Ford Maverick, a much-anticipated pickup truck not expected in dealerships for months.

“That’s basically what I’m looking for, is all the safety features.”

Chaiquile Cooper’s eyes lit up sitting in a sporty red Subaru.

“He was telling me all about it; makes me seriously want to learn how to stick shift,” Cooper said.

She’s just browsing for now, but the practical stuff is certainly on her mind too.

“Would insurance be more since it’s a sports car?” she asked.

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Meantime, for the first time in its history, the Auto Show is being held both indoors and outdoors, offering food, music, and vehicles on display on Indiana Avenue outside the convention center.

There are plenty of cars to test drive, including the remake of the Ford Bronco.

Hopefully this marks the end of the COVID roller coaster, and getting all things back to normal, including the economy.

“The way it fills hotel rooms, and fills restaurants year-round, and all the people who work at McCormick Place. They’ve been out for a year, and so they’re back working, and they’re so happy to be back,” Auto Show general manager Dave Sloan said.

People here run the gamut; from checking out dream cars to seriously shopping for their next vehicle, like two sisters who said they’re loyal to Chevy, and interested in a new SUV on display at the Auto Show.

“Everything just seems within reach and easy to see.”

While the floor of the Auto Show is filled with cars, that’s in contrast to many dealers, because of a chip shortage that has greatly reduced the supply of new cars.

The show is much shorter than in a typical year, only running until Monday.

You do have to buy tickets online.

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For details go to chicagoautoshow.com

CBS 2 Chicago Staff