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Chicago, IL - "It gets tougher every year to pick just one display,'' said Steve Saunders, past president of the American Institute of Architecture (AIA) Chicago. "But for 2002, Volvo was the clear choice to be winner of the Chicago Auto Show AIA Award for Design Excellence. The five- member jury was in agreement that Volvo did an amazing job of evolving into a higher design image not only with its cars, but also with its display. The entire display was finely crafted, fit the theme of the company and had enormous care for detail. Volvo did a wonderful job of marrying the ethos of the car with its nationality.''<P>The AIA Chicago Chapter is charged with the task of choosing a Chicago Auto Show display that stands out from the rest -- not an easy job considering the time, thought and capital investment each company put into the displays. The award honors the display that best exemplifies the principles of design, functionality and visual appeal. Each company painstakingly engineers, plans and constructs its display in hopes of conveying the right image to the public.<P>"In the end, we have to think about which exhibit matches its car so perfectly that no other car could be placed in that spot, and still make the display work,'' said Jim Prendergast, a member of the AIA Chicago Auto Show award jury.<P>The competition was intense, but in the end, the judges narrowed the list to three choices: Mini, Aston Martin and Volvo. After careful deliberation, Volvo was clearly the winner by a vote of four-to-one.<P>"We loved Mini, it was kitschy and fun. The Aston Martin display is consistently good every year and this year it made the hair stand up on the back of my neck, but in the end it was Volvo that best fit all of our criteria,'' said Saunders. While Mini and Aston Martin were favorites, the jury felt that the sense of brand longevity conveyed by the Volvo display clearly set it apart from the rest.
 

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The icing on the cake is the fact that the Chicago Auto Show has just been declared the largest auto show in North America, leaving L.A. and Detroit in the dust. <IMG SRC="http://www.swedespeed.com/ubb/smile.gif"> The Chicago Auto Show displayed a total of 701 cars and light trucks in 2002, compared to only 602 in Los Angeles and 538 at Detroit's North American International Auto Show.<P>-Drew
 
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