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What to expect at the Detroit auto show

President Joe Biden is visiting Wednesday during media day. This year's event will focus more on experiences, less on big news and vehicle reveals.

DETROIT — The North American International Detroit Auto Show opens to the public on Sept. 17, but members of the media are getting a sneak peak Wednesday.

The auto show is taking on a bit of a new identity. The days of automakers coming to the Motor City to make big announcements and reveal new vehicles are mostly a thing of the past as marketing strategies continue to shift.

Many major car companies and executives are opting out of the show. Organizers are catering more to the auto enthusiast by creating a variety of experiences at this revamped indoor/outdoor event.

According to the Wall Street Journal, 15 automotive brands will have new vehicles on display. That's down from 24 in 2019 - the last time the auto show was held in Detroit. There were 35 brands in attendance 10 years ago.

Auto show attendance started to decline even before the COVID-19 pandemic as manufacturers turned to YouTube and other forms of social media to conduct cheaper - and in many cases more effective - marketing to consumers.

With the advent of websites like Carvana, many people purchase a vehicle without ever seeing it or visiting a dealership.

However the shift in strategy means show-goers will have more to do than just walk around and window shop. 


The public portion of the show runs from Saturday through Sept. 25 at Huntington Place and Hart Plaza. Venue maps can be found here.

The show is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day except for the final day, when doors close at 7 p.m.

Ticket prices are $10-$20 depending on age. You can purchase tickets here.


Camp Jeep

Since its inception in 2005, more than 532,000 people have taken test rides in various Jeep Vehicles on the Camp Jeep test track, getting a glimpse at multiple off-road features that they may not commonly experience in everyday driving. 

The interactive test track has been a favorite place for auto show attendees and this year will be no exception. The track is bigger and steeper and features a mountain that is 28 feet tall - 10 feet taller than previous years - with 45-degree approach/departure angles. 

Experienced drivers will navigate attendees through the various courses, which highlight the off-road features of Jeep vehicles at the 2022 Detroit Auto Show.

Bronco Mountain

Bronco & EV Ride Registration & Guidelines:  

Rides will only be given to guests that have registered and meet the height requirements (44 inches).  

Rides are for the vehicle in the queue (Bronco, Mach-E or Lightning).  

VIP line available for guests sent an email, or brought up by a stand manager, producer or executive.  

*NOTE* VIP’s WILL be able to choose what vehicle they prefer to ride in and will be the next in line when vehicle is available.

Dinosaur and Off-Road Vehicle Encounter

Travel back in time to the Mesozoic Era at the new Dinosaur and Off-Road Vehicle Encounter at the Detroit Auto Show, a Jurassic walk-thru experience featuring life-like and life-size dinosaurs, including T-Rex, Velociraptor and Stegosaurus, just to name a few.

A perfect complement to the rugged off-road SUVs and trucks on display throughout the show and in the themed-area, Dinosaur and Off-Road Vehicle Encounters will be featured daily inside the Huntington Place Ballroom.  The dinosaur experience will premiere on Charity Preview night, Sept. 16.

This fun, prehistoric world will include a collection of more than 80 massive dinosaurs ranging from babies to some creatures standing over 28 feet tall and spanning over 60 feet long.  It will also feature a long list of interactive and educational activities, including Story Time, hands-on crafts, and fossil digs, in addition to an animatronic Dinosaur Band and realistic dinosaur babies and dinosaurs roaming throughout.

Air Mobility Experience

Bringing science fiction to reality over the skies of Detroit and Windsor, the “Air Mobility Experience” at the Detroit Auto Show will be a “Show Above the Show.” Featuring flight demonstrations and displays by six mobility companies originating from five countries, this new addition to the auto show will take place over the Detroit River, in Hart Plaza and Huntington Place.

From electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft to amphibious sport planes to hoverboards and jet suits, show visitors will get a taste of the future, today. Flight demonstrations will take place outside on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 17-18, with air mobility displays and experiences featured inside Huntington Place throughout the duration of the show. 

Click here for a complete list of experiences and attractions.

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