The automotive industry in Los Angeles County has an incredibly rich history. The county was once home to some of the most reputable manufacturing companies. Of course, Los Angeles, and the entire state of California, was an automobile manufacturing giant.
But that was before nearly all the massive manufacturing plants closed to leave the glamorous industry a pale shadow of what it used to be. Of course, this is not to say that Los Angeles is no longer a giant in the vehicle manufacturing industry.
According to reliable automotive news in Canada, the county is still a big player in the automotive industry. However, unlike in the last century when it manufactured vehicular parts and components for ordinary automobiles, Los Angeles today leads in the electric vehicle design, technology, and manufacturing.
Ideally, this is something you should know. But first, let’s trace the county’s history as far as the vehicle manufacturing industry is concerned.
History of the Automotive Industry in Los Angeles
The history of modern motor vehicle manufacturing in Los Angeles County dates back more than a century ago. The county saw the initiation of its first motor vehicle manufacturing company in 1902. By 1911, the county already had about 3000 locally manufactured automobiles. Several other manufacturing and assembly plants joined the completion within a few decades.
By around 1950, Los Angeles County was already an international powerhouse in the automotive manufacturing industry. It was the second-largest automobile manufacturer in the US, closely after Detroit. The steady growth saw the county overtake Detroit in the 1960s.
Of course, Los Angeles takes pride in the design of some of the most celebrated automotive brands. Chrysler, Ford, Willys-Overland (Jeep), General Motors, Kaiser-Frazer, and Studebaker all have origins in Los Angeles, California. Unfortunately, all these giant manufacturing plants later closed down to leave the county’s once-booming automobile manufacturing industry a memory.
Some notable pioneer manufacturing and assembly plants in the area include;
- Ford- The American carmaker had four major assembly plants in Los Angeles. The company established the first plant in 1911 in St. Olive Street, the second one in 1930 in Long Beach, the Maywood Assembly plant at 5801 S Eastern Ave in 1948, and finally in 1958 at 8820 Washington Blvd. They were later closed, with the first one shutting its doors in 1930 and the last in 1980.
- Willys-Overland- The manufacturer of the Jeep automobile brand was also a notable participant in the Los Angeles automotive industry. The company, located at 6201 Randolph St, opened its doors in 1929 and closed in 1954.
- Chrysler- Of course, Chrysler opened a manufacturing plant in 1932 at 5800 S Eastern Ave., Los Angeles. The company would later shut its doors in 1971.
- Studebaker- This carmaker opened an assembly plant in 1938 at 4530 Loma Vista Ave, Vernon, Los Angeles. The company closed down in 1956.
- General Motors- GM opened Assembly plants in South Gate and Van Nuys in 1936 and 1947. The South Gate plant closed in 1982, while the Van Nuys assembly plant worked until 1992.
- Other Players- Other entrants included the Kaiser-Frazer, American Motors/Nash Motors, and TABC Inc. (a Toyota subsidiary).
The Current State of the Automotive Industry in Los Angeles
All the companies closed down their manufacturing and assembly plants in Los Angeles save for TABC, Inc., which has continued since 1972. While this should indicate a grim picture of the vehicle manufacturing industry in the county, it is not the case.
Thanks to the booming electric vehicle industry, Los Angeles has a new breath of life in the automotive industry. Of course, North California takes most of the attention as it provides a base for Tesla. But this does not make Los Angeles and the rest of south California inferior. Los Angeles is now a hub of EV innovation and manufacturing.
The county takes pride in vehicle manufacturing, battery manufacturing, and charging system manufacturing companies. You will also find supplies of electric vehicles, vehicle parts, batteries, and charging systems. The county now has about 137 companies in the region.
There is also notable growth in the Electric Vehicle tech development industry. The industry now accounts for at least 275,000 jobs in Los Angeles. While this may not rival more established employment sectors, you cannot underrate it.
The electric vehicle manufacturing industry continues to flourish. Besides, the industry is pretty vibrant and grows twice as fast as the fastest-growing jobs.
The EV industry in Los Angeles has incredible local support. The community supports this industry to accelerate more purchases of electric vehicles. The objective is to help meet California’s 5 million EVs target on the roads by 2030. The automotive industry has incredible potential.
California is far ahead of other counties in the electric vehicle manufacturing industry. It is all systems go. Many companies already have operational bases for manufacturing or assembling cars and batteries. Notably, Los Angele’s technological and industrial innovation history attracts many companies. Besides, its history as a powerhouse for car manufacturing and assembly makes it an attractive location for forward-looking companies in the automotive industry.