5 things you need to know about the San Diego Auto Show

The San Diego International Auto Show kicks into high gear today with a showstopping lineup of sleek, classic, fast and furious new models — more than 400 of them — from nearly three dozen manufacturers.

Through Monday, buyers and window-shoppers will find more than 20 debuts that haven’t hit the showroom floors yet, including the Lincoln Nautilus, Hyundai KONA and, for “Star Wars” fans, the Altima-based Special Forces TIE Fighter.

Without a doubt, cars are the main draw, but organizers have included a number of features and activities that have made the auto show an entertainment destination for families around the region.

“We work very hard year-round to make this a fun, family destination,” said Kevin Leap, director of the San Diego Auto Show. “The cars are definitely front-and-center, but at the same time, we have a number of features and activities for all ages. The feedback is always positive.”

Here are 5 things you need to know about the show:

Electric Vehicle Day

San Diego Gas & Electric will get people plugged in to a variety of pure electric vehicles, hybrids and other models available on today’s market. SDG&E subject experts will provide information on special low electricity rates for EV drivers, including a series of EV101 talks designed to educate consumers on the types of alternate-fuel vehicles, the benefits of owning one, as well as state and federal tax credits for electric vehicles. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. today at the Think Blue Eco-Center.

Chevy Family Day

Take a break from car hopping at one of the car show’s favorite attractions, featuring games, giveaways and activities for all ages. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, attendees wil have the opportunity to greet some of Marvel Comics superheroes, including Spider-Man, Captain America, Super Girl and The Flash. Children 12 and under are free when accompanied by an adult.

Camp Jeep

A unique, interactive, off-road experience, where professional 4×4 drivers demonstrate the on and off-road capabilities of Jeep brand vehicles. The 40,000-square-foot course is made of several obstacles, including a thrilling “can’t miss” hill climb where passengers experience traction capabilities while climbing the 18-foot-high, 35-degree Jeep Mountain, the icon of the ride. There’s also a climbing wall, interactive gaming and a mini-Jeep kids test drive course.

Touch of the exotics

The Wawanesa Exotics Vault will fulfill your luxury car fantasy with iconic showpieces such as Porsche, Lamborghini, Maserati, Ferrari, McLaren, Lotus and Aston Martin. This year, the exotics vault will feature the just-revealed supercar, the Saleen 1, designed and engineered in California, and marking the return of Steve Saleen to the supercar business. You’ll find these beauties at the west end of the convention center near the Toyota display.


Onsite private vehicle parking is available at the San Diego Convention Center’s underground garage located beneath the exhibit halls. The daily rate is $20. Just south of the center, the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel will have parking for $15. Mention the auto show to the cashier upon exiting. Across the street from the center, on the corner of K Street and Eighth Avenue, is a 2,000-space parking structure. Parking is also available at numerous nearby parking lots and garages, as well as metered street parking. For more information visit,

San Diego International Auto Show

When: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday.

Where: San Diego Convention Center, 111 W. Harbor Drive, downtown San Diego.

Cost: $11-$15; children 6 and under are free.