Following the unveiling of the Toyota Motor Corp. XYR concept coupe in Detroit - an early look at the next-generation Toyota Celica coming out this fall - the Japanese automaker chose the 1999 Chicago Auto Show to introduce the Toyota MR Spyder, a tease of what to expect if and when Toyota brings back the MR2 sport coupe sold between 1985-1995.

The Spyder is among a handful of introductions of coming-soon vehicles the Chicago Show offers.

Toyota, like most automakers, brought the vehicles that were introduced in Detroit - in the midst of a snowstorm that limited both media and public attendance at the Detroit gathering - to Chicago for a second chance at capturing some attention. The XYR and open-top Spyder are two more pieces of the puzzle Toyota is assembling in its new focus on the youth market as it tries to shed its staid conservative image.

However, noticeable by their absence at Chicago were General Motors Corp.'s Pontiac GTO concept, the Mercedes-Benz SLR gullwing concept, and the Mazda Motor Corp. MPV concept. The GTO, basically a foam model, couldn't be transported safely from Detroit, the SLR was shipped back to Germany for executive ogling, and the MPV was put under wraps until the New York Auto Show.

Chevrolet dishes out the 2000 Monte Carlo coupe, built off the same platform as the Impala sedan unveiled in Detroit. Chevy also has on display a version of the Monte Carlo for NASCAR racing and a Monte Carlo Pace Car, since it will serve as the pace car for this year's Indy 500 race.

Pontiac unveils the 2000 Bonneville, which is built off the same platform as the 2000 Buick LeSabre and the same platform that will be used by the 2000 Olds Aurora and Cadillac DeVille.

Pontiac's GMC partner brought out the Jimmy Diamond, a special, limited-edition black, silver and stainless steel treatment of the Jimmy SUV that will go on sale this fall to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Jimmy name at GMC.

Cadillac uses the Chicago Show backdrop to unveil the Catera Sport, a cosmetic rendition of the Catera sedan aimed at giving it more of a performance image.

Catera's mostly un-sporty 200-hp 3L DOHC V-6 is left untouched, but the Sport version does feature a specially tuned suspension to allow more aggressive motoring. It also comes with

7-spoke alloy wheels, a decklid spoiler and unique grille.

One of Chicago's more significant unveilings is Nissan Motor Co. Ltd.'s 2000 Maxima, coming out in the summer, as well as its NCS (New Concept Sedan) a hybrid concept that's part SUV, part minivan, part station wagon, part sedan, a vehicle that will join the SUT (sport/utility truck) and Z concepts in the Nissan lineup in the near future.

Maxima, in addition to all-new styling and some innovative interior details, features a more powerful version of its highly regarded 3L DOHC V-6, as the automaker intends to shift its focus on Maxima to more of a 4-door sports car (not coincidentally, how Nissan used to bill the Maxima at its popularity zenith) - a high-performance rather than a luxury sedan.

Mercedes introduces limited-edition Designo, or fashion versions, of the S-Class, SL, SLK, CLK, and E-Class models that will go on sale for model year 2000.

Mazda shows off a 10th anniversary edition of the new Miata, which was originally introduced 10 years ago at the Chicago Auto Show.

Honda introduces the Civic CSi, a sportier version of the existing Civic coupe that resurrects the tightly wound, 160-hp VTEC 4-cyl. engine from the old Del Sol. The CSi goes on sale this month with only with a 5-speed manual transmission.

Mitsubishi alludes to its 2000 model Eclipse to the Chicago Show, but only in the form of bits and pieces via a brief video.

Jerry Cizek, president of the Chicago Automobile Trade Assn., show sponsors, says his group is negotiating with McCormick Place to lease an additional 300,000 sq. ft. of space in McCormick Place North, directly adjacent to the South Hall, to give automakers more room for the 2000 show.

Mr. Cizek says more room is needed because both Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp. want to have corporate displays next year, with Ford hawking Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Aston Martin, and Mazda vehicles all under one corporate umbrella in the same space (as it did at the Detroit show), while GM wants all of its divisions' vehicles in the same space as well.