Your Guide to the 2022 Detroit Auto Show: Maps, Food Trucks, Rides and More
The Detroit Auto Show returns to downtown Detroit for the first time since January 2019.
A lot has changed in three years. Electric vehicles are more common, flying vehicle concepts have grown, and auto shows have become more about the experience than unveiling new vehicles.
Here’s everything you need to know for the 2022 Detroit Auto Show.
The Detroit Auto Show is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. from Saturday, September 17 through Sunday, September 25 — the only exception is that the show ends at 7 p.m. on September 25.
The show was open to media and industry leaders earlier this week.
Tickets are $20 for adults, $12 for seniors 65 and older, $10 for children 3-12, and free for children 2 and under.
Family passes are also available for $50, accommodating up to two adults and three children.
Tickets can be purchased at the door on the day or through the box office at 888-838-7500.
People can explore the outdoor parts of the show for free.
The show is back in Detroit for the first time since January 2019 at Huntington Place, 1 Washington Blvd. (formerly Cobo Hall/TCF Center).
The event was canceled in 2020 due to COVID and a lighter version of the show was performed outdoors in the Pontiac in September 2021.
Because the Detroit Auto Show is now in September, it allows part of the event to be outdoors. Hart Plaza and Spirit Plaza both have things to look at – like food trucks, groups, brand activation spaces, monster trucks and more.
Check out the indoor and outdoor maps, hereto find out where to find items in the room.
For parking, the Detroit Auto Show recommends the SpotHero app to find and reserve parking spaces. For more details, click here. There are also many parking decks available near Huntington Place.
Walks and experiences
With fewer markings and some aspects moved to the exterior, there was a little more floor space available at the Detroit Auto Show this year.
This extra square footage is put to good use with what the industry calls “activations”.
Ford, Jeep and Dodge have all built large structures, giving attendees free rides in their latest vehicles.
“Manufacturers like to go to market differently these days,” said Thad Szott, co-chair of the show. “They want consumers to get behind the wheel to experience new technology, to experience new vehicles.”
The Ford display features rides in Ford Broncos over obstacles and a steep mountain – similar to the RAM Truck display setup.
“The track is literally going to be inches from the lights hanging in the rafters,” Szott said.
There’s also a Ford F-150 lightning ride, where a driver slams the throttle on the electric truck to show off its acceleration. For most activations, children can also ride, provided they are at least 44 inches tall.
People can also test drive various vehicles outside of the show on Jefferson Avenue for free.
The show also features various driving simulators and all-terrain virtual reality experiences.
Live entertainment schedule
There are free concerts at Hart Plaza most auto show nights, featuring bands and DJs.
The biggest names on the list include Grace Potter and Frankie Ballard. For the full entertainment schedule, click here.
Hart Plaza will also have food trucks in Hart Plaza every day of the event. Here are the 10 food trucks planning to be there:
- Andiamo Food Truck – Andiamo Favorites
- Andiamo Pizza Pie – Handmade pizza, garlic fries
- Aratham Plant Based Foods – Vegan Sandwiches and Salads
- Cinnamon Nuts and More – Roasted Nuts and Cinnamon Candies
- Jackson Five Star Bistro – Burgers, Chicken, Fish, Mac & Cheese
- Jackson Five Star Sweets – Elephant Ears, Funnel Cakes, Lemonade, and Corn Dogs
- MAAD Tea House – Cold and hot natural teas.
- Mercurio’s Chick-A-Dee – Chicken, Chicken Sandwiches, and Corn Dogs
- Motor City Sweet Treats – Hand Dipped Ice Cream, Milk Shakes and Bubble Tea
- The Real Boss – Tex Mex
Not everything on display at the Detroit Auto Show stays on the ground. The show features a variety of futuristic-looking flying machines – some that are already in use and some that are prototypes.
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Here is a program of flight demonstrations that people can watch.
- Gravity Industries Jet SuitFriday, Sept. 16: 5:30 p.m., 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17, 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18, all at Riverwalk-Hart Plaza
- ICON A5 light amphibious aircraft (as they can land in water): every 30 minutes from 9am to 2:30pm from Thursday September 15 to Sunday September 18, landing on the Detroit River in front of Huntington Place
- omni hoverboardFriday, Sept. 16: 9 p.m., 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17 and 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18, all at Riverwalk-Hart Plaza
- AIR ONE: The two-seater flying machine will have a virtual reality experience for people to try out on its indoor screen throughout the event
- Sigma-6 Airspace Experience Technologies: The indoor exhibit won’t leave the ground, but will turn on its propellers to show how quiet its electric motor is
- AERWINS Technologies Xturismo Hover Bike: The only scheduled launch for the luxury air cruiser Xturismo was Thursday at a local airport
- Drone show: 300 to 400 drones will fly 200 feet in the air along the Detroit River at 9 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday
What brands are at the show?
The following brands/companies have floor space at the 2022 Detroit Auto Show:
- Stellantis (including Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Fiat, RAM, Dodge and Jeep)
- land rover
- The North Star
- Airplane ICON
- AIR ONE
- Airspace Experience Technologies
“We have over 30 brands represented at the show, which is absolutely amazing to achieve for any car show around the world right now,” Szott said.
Why the show is back in Detroit
Even before the pandemic hit, show organizers were planning to move the winter event to summer. The idea was to make the event both indoor and outdoor.
COVID put it on hold, canceling the 2020 show. In 2021, organizers decided to host the show in September at Pontiac’s M1 competition in a scaled-down version as COVID concerns persisted.
Auto shows around the world change or disappear. That’s why Detroit Auto Show executive director Rod Alberts said it took some risk to create a new model for the event.
Last year’s event, called “Motor Bella,” allowed the show to experiment with what could be done, Alberts said.
It also showed the challenges of an outdoor event. Rain chilled several days of the 2021 show, and space was limited compared to what downtown Detroit could offer with convention center space.
While the Detroit Auto Show topped 800,000 visitors for most of the 2010s, organizers only targeted 150,000 in 2021. A specific attendance number was not collected on last year, officials said.
“It belongs in Detroit,” Alberts said.
So what to expect this year? Alberts and Szott aren’t sure – but they’re aiming for 400,000 to 500,000 people over the eight days.
“We’ll feel really, really good about ourselves if we hit 500,000,” Szott said.
Count on Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan among the cheering crowd to see the event return to Detroit. He visited the space on Tuesday, taking advantage of the many walking opportunities.
“They got a bit off reserve last year,” Duggan said of the show at Pontiac.
Duggan also gave a preview of what the 2023 show could look like. He is working with organizers to make self-driving vehicles available to drive attendees around a closed course.
“The Most Electric Event Ever”
Advertisements for the auto show boasted that it would be “the most electric event ever”.
The pun refers to the number of electric vehicles featured. Examples include the F-150 Lightning, a roughly $30,000 electric Chevrolet Equinox, and a pair of hybrid Jeeps revealed during the show.
Many driving experiences are also aimed at electric vehicles. Alberts said there were no worries about fumes on the showroom floor, as many of the driving experiences are electric cars — plus, the venue has ventilation controls and can let off. rear dock doors open for air circulation.
These experiences can help ease some customers’ anxiety about electric vehicles, Szott said.
“I think it’s going to really change people’s attitudes and hesitations about hybrid motors and electric motors and maybe move their acceptance and thinking process forward,” Szott said.
There’s even an all-electric monster truck that will be in action all week at Hart Plaza.
But one exception to the electric theme was the unveiling of the seventh-generation 2024 Ford Mustang. Some editions of the muscle car will have up to 500 horsepower, Ford announced during its reveal Wednesday night. And all versions of the car run on gasoline.
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