Time to kick the tires at auto show

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The Chatham Auto show returns this weekend, featuring about 100 vehicles for visitors to peruse.

The cars, trucks and SUVs are rolling back into the Bradley Centre this week, just in time for the Chatham Auto Show.

The event runs March 1-3.

The show, organized by CKXS’ Greg Hetherington, has been in action for more than a decade. It offers potential car buyers the chance to window shop and check out the features of a host of vehicles, all under one roof.

“The people that are looking for a car love the convenience of one-stop shopping, where you can ask all your questions,” he said.

On top of that, there are no high-pressure sales pitches.

“It’s not a sale. It’s an information-gathering session,” he said. “It allows the people to see all the dealers in one spot.”

Nine of the 10 Chatham auto dealers will have vehicles on display again this year. There will be about 100 different vehicles to examine. Limited inventory access is preventing full participation, Hetherington said.

The dealers love the atmosphere at the car show, he added.

“They do a really good job being there to answer all the questions,” he said. “It’s not about selling a car. It’s a very casual atmosphere to just be able look at all the cars, sit in them, check out the trunk space.”

That said the show generally leads to a “busy week” at the local dealership in the week following.

Hetherington said the show also is a way of urging people to stay in Chatham-Kent to purchase their next vehicle.

“We encourage people to shop at home. Buy your next car in Chatham,” he said. “Buying local is huge. The more cars a dealership sells, the more they give back to the community.”

Admission to the show is by cash donation or a donation of a non-perishable food item.

“Whatever people want to give, 100 per cent of that goes to the food banks,” Hetherington said.

The auto show supports the Salvation Army and Outreach for Hunger food banks, as well as R.O.C.K. Missions.

There will be a community room at the event, as a number of non-profit groups will be showcasing their activities, while a few businesses will have displays there as well. Also on display will be several classic cars, Hetherington said.

Last year, more than 3,000 people attended the Chatham Auto Show. Hetherington said poor weather on the Friday led to a slow start, however, the Saturday and Sunday traffic was solid.

He hopes for good weather this time around.

The Chatham Auto Show runs from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday at the Bradley Centre, located on Richmond Street in Chatham.

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