The 2004 North American International Auto Show being held in Detroit this week sees three vehicle manufacturers using video games to promote their upcoming models. Jeep has created a game called Jeep Trail Rated 4x4: The Unlimited Challenge to promote its Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, while both Chrysler and Dodge are showing enhanced versions of Project Gotham Racing 2 that allow players to test-drive vehicles that won't be made available until 2005.
"Visitors to the auto show will be able to see the vehicles on display and then have an opportunity to take them for a thrilling ride in a race against other game players," said Julie Roehm, director of marketing communications at Chrysler/Jeep/Dodge. "Consumers will be able to virtually test out each of the vehicles before they hit the dealers' showrooms."
Visitors to the Chrysler stand are able to race in the Chrysler 300C, while the version of Bizarre Creations' popular racer on display at the Dodge stand features the 2005 Dodge Magnum. The enhanced editions of the game on show have been created especially for the motor show, but it now seems likely that these vehicles may well be the first to appear in the empty Xbox Live showrooms that fans of Project Gotham Racing 2 so regularly walk around in, in vain, hoping that a bonus vehicle or two might have materialized since the last time they played.
We contacted Microsoft in an attempt to confirm that the first bonus vehicles for Project Gotham Racing 2 might be en route to the showroom, but at the time of writing we have nothing further to report. We'll bring you more on this story as soon as it becomes available.