PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — One of the largest car shows in Central Illinois is stuck in park for the second straight year.
The Central Illinois Auto Show was originally set to take place this month, but organizers decided hosting an event this year would not be feasible.
Officials with the Peoria Metro New Car Dealers Association made the decision in December. Mike Bowermaster, president of the association, said they made the decision due to two reasons: general uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and a lack of vehicles due to a pandemic caused chip shortage.
“We reached out to our dealer members, and they reached out to their prospective manufacturers and because of the supply chain and chip shortage, it was pretty unanimous that we would not have enough product to put on a show,” Bowermaster said.
The event usually takes place at the Peoria Civic Center, but Bowenmaster said the decision was made to cancel the event in advance because they did not know how this month would play out back in December 2021.
“They (Civic Center) need to know further in advance so they can reschedule things because we use the Civic Center for approximately a week by the time we set up the car show, have the car show, and tear it down,” Bowermaster said.
In past years, the show has been billed as “low-stress” and is a way for local dealers to show off new products. Anthony Ficociello, managing partner of Green Chevrolet in Peoria said it’s an event that’s fun for all ages.
“We’re trying to really display who we are along with everybody else and show our product off and it’s not having a sales pitch, really just about meeting people and trying to get them back to your dealership,” Ficociello said.
Right now, the show has been rescheduled for March 10-12 of next year at the Civic Center.
“I think what’s exciting about it moving forward is the technology going with cars and the electrification, so customers have a lot of questions and that’s where we’re going be to answer those questions, about what’s an electric car, what’s a hybrid car,” Bowermaster said.
Bowermaster said when it comes to the chip shortage, things are looking more positive in the second half of this year.