The Windy City is host to another annual onslaught of cars, trucks, SUVs, and unfortunately snow and cold. [fflash=left]http://www.youtube.com/v/g2798rorswY?version=3[/fflash]Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG - Feb. 5, 2014 The Media Preview for the 2014 Chicago Auto Show will kick off on tomorrow morning, Feb. 6 at 08:00 AM with the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) breakfast. MAMA President Kirk Bell will present the MAMA Family Vehicle of the Year Award, and introduce the keynote speaker Toyota's Bob Carter, Senior VP of Automotive Operations. At noon, The Economic Club of Chicago returns to host a luncheon featuring guest speaker Joe Hinrichs, President of The Americas and Executive VP of Ford. Like all media previews you have seen us attend in the recent past, the Chicago Auto Show will feature a number of manufacturer-related press events, including firm commitments for world introductions from Chevrolet, Ford, Kia, Nissan, Ram, Subaru, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo. To keep up, just watch the Twitter feed along the right side of the home page to see quick tweets and pics of vehicles and news from the show floor. What is the WOMMA thingie? Driving Engagement Social Media Award Returns to the 2014 Chicago Auto Show is presented by “Word of Mouth Marketing Association” (WOMMA). The Chicago Automobile Trade Association, producer of the Chicago Auto Show, and Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) have teamed up again to present one automotive manufacturer with the “Driving Engagement Award” for the most innovative social media campaign of 2013. WOMMA, the non-profit trade association dedicated to the word of mouth and social media marketing industry, will kick off the 2014 Chicago Auto Show Social Media Preview with a special Driving Engagement Award ceremony on Friday, Feb. 7 at 8:30 a.m. to announce the winner and the two runners-up. And Connected World? In a smartphone-centric world, automakers aren’t just selling cars anymore; they’re playing an integral role in shaping the “connected world” future. Cars themselves are becoming mobile hotspots that link the vehicle to the home and to the outside world. In-car connectivity future. Cars themselves are becoming mobile hotspots that link the vehicle to the home and to the outside world. In-car connectivity applications now allow a vehicle to interact with other aspects of an owner’s life.Many of today’s cars have features that go beyond hands-free calling, as some are able to read text messages aloud and access owner’s social media accounts. Moreover, car connectivity is becoming a two-way street as vehicles are now also able to send pertinent information back to their owners via their smartphones. Recognizing this growing trend, the Chicago Automobile Trade Association – producer of the Chicago Auto Show – has partnered with Connected World magazine to present the Connected World Conference at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show. An established exposition for the past three years, the Connected World Conference has successfully coupled connected technology providers, app developers and industry experts. Bringing this conference to the Chicago Auto Show adds a public element that hasn’t been tapped in previous technology conferences. The Connected World Conference examines the convergence of the automobile with today’s new communications and infotainment technologies. The Connected World Conference will be located within a 20,000-sq.ft. pavilion on the floor of the 2014 Chicago Auto Show. The Connected World Conference will showcase technologies, products and services developed to enhance the in-car experience. App developers, device makers, software companies, and product and car manufacturers collectively will provide 10 days of programming during the show. The Connected Car of the Year award winners will be announced Feb. 6 during the show’s Media Preview. The Connected World Conference will feature multiple exhibits that provide a tour of the technologies coalescing around the connected car. These exhibits include connected energy, connected healthcare/fitness, and a special start-up zone for innovators seeking funding. Advanced programming includes presentations on connecting the car to the house, the car to physicians, the car to other vehicles, and the car to our health and fitness. The Millennial Debate: Interested or Indifferent? Despite numerous reports arguing that Millennials aren’t interested in purchasing cars, the reality is consumers within this age demographic are starting to buy cars again as their economic circumstances begin to improve. People age 18 to 34 accounted for more than 14 percent of the U.S. new car market just five years ago, but that plunged to 10.5 percent in 2011, according to registration data collected by the Polk auto research firm. The figure grew to 12.3 percent in 2012. Some experts even blame social media for Millennials’ lack of interest in cars, as the socially-connected demographic doesn’t need the real-life experience when they can live it out virtually. However, automotive executives are speaking out: General Motors’ Chief Economist Mustafa Mohatarem doesn’t believe Millennials have necessarily lost interest in cars but rather were forced to put off getting their licenses due to the lack of jobs. If Millennials are in fact interested in purchasing cars, then what features are they most interested in? Automakers are used to hearing that Generation Y consumers are more interested in connectivity in their vehicles than anything else. However, research company GfK found that it isn’t just smartphone and internet connectivity that interests younger consumers. They’re also very intrigued by a category of what the research firm calls “well-being” features and devices such as systems to keep drivers from falling asleep, vital-sign monitors and massaging seats to prevent muscle fatigue. Automakers should also start paying attention to Gen Y’s younger counterparts: Generation Z. Generation Z, those currently 17 and younger, are most interested in passenger features such as adjustable seats and systems that allow them to connect with their tablet or mobile device. Thursday, Feb. 7th Schedule Column1Column2TimeNews Conference 8:00 a.m.MAMA Breakfast with Toyota’s Bob Carter, Senior VP of Automotive Operations 9:00 a.m.Kia 9:30 a.m.Toyota 10:00 a.m.Nissan 10:30 a.m.Subaru 11:00 a.m.Chevrolet 11:30 a.m.Volvo 12 NoonEconomic Club of Chicago Luncheon with Joe Hinrichs Executive VP and President of The Americas for Ford 1:30 p.m.Volkswagen 2:00 p.m.Toyota Motorsports Announcement 2:30 p.m.BMW 3:00 p.m.Maserati 3:30 p.m.Chrysler 200 Snack Break 3:50 p.m.Lingenfelter Performance Engineering 4:10 p.m.Connected World – 2014 Connected Car Connected World of the Year Awards 4:30 p.m.MotorWeek Reception - 2014 Drivers Choice Awards Friday, Feb. 8th Schedule - Social Media Preview Schedule Column1Column2TimeNews Conference 8:30 a.m.Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) “Driving Engagement” Award Ceremony & Breakfast 9:00 a.m.Panel discussion – “Driving Engagement: a Closer Look at the Current Social Media Landscape” hosted by WOMMA 9:30 a.m.Volkswagen 9:50 a.m.Honda 10:10 a.m.Ford 10:30 a.m.Hyundai 10:50 a.m.Connected World – Inside Secrets of Cellular: Top 10 Connected World, Things the Cell Carriers Don’t Want You to Know 11:10 a.m.BMW Snack Break 11:30 a.m.Volvo 11:50 a.m.Chevrolet 12:10 p.m.Dodge/Mopar 12:30 p.m.Chrysler 12:50 p.m.Subaru 1:10 p.m.Connected World – Putting NFC in Perspective: Connected World, A Primer for the Media. What is NFC and how is it transforming the world around us? 1:30 p.m.Text2Drive Demonstration Yeah, that is a lot to absorb. Roger CMAXXvsPrius and I will be on the show floor all day tomorrow and part of the day Friday to bring up anything new that may appear. I also hear rumors that for Public days there may be over 1,000 cars on the floor. That is a lot of cars!