2009 Chicago: Truck stop of car shows

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Due to its Midwest setting, the Chicago Auto Show is often considered more of a “truck show” than the other major international auto shows in the United States, in Detroit, New York or Los Angeles.

For instance, Chrysler’s Dodge brand chose the 2009 Chicago show in February to introduce the heavy-duty version of its all-new Dodge Ram pickup. A hulking pickup might have gotten a cold shoulder in trendy Los Angeles, but that’s less likely in the U.S. heartland.

Rival Ford also launched the more macho, Harley-Davidson version of its redesigned Ford F-150 pickup in Chicago, with leather seats designed to look like Harley-Davidson leather jackets. Ford launched an all-new F-150 late last year.

The Ford F-150 and its predecessors have been the nation’s best-selling vehicle, car or truck for 27 years in a row, according to Ford. For the last few years, its archrival, the Chevy Silverado pickup, has been closing the gap.

Here’s a slideshow look at the notable introductions from the 2009 Chicago Auto Show.

Trucks lead the parade at Chicago Auto Show

The Toyota Camry, which has been the nation’s best-selling car for seven years in a row, is also gaining on the Ford F-150. As gas prices spiked in 2008, cars outsold trucks in the United States for the first time since 2001, according to Automotive News.

With cars on the rise, there were also several significant car launches at the Chicago show, in addition to trucks.

Ford, for instance, revived the Ford Taurus SHO, which stands for super high output, that had been off the market. Ford sold previous generations of the Ford Taurus SHO from 1989 to 1999, selling more than 100,000 over that span.

The Taurus was first introduced in 1985. It was still the No. 1-selling car in the U.S. a decade later, but it was soon passed by the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry. Ford put its resources into trucks instead, and even discontinued the Taurus name for a few months in 2006. Now Ford is pushing hard for a comeback in cars, including the new Taurus SHO.