The lights of Los Angeles are typically reserved to shine only on the brightest of stars, so it is no surprise that the city is home to one of the world’s premier auto shows. The Los Angeles Auto Show takes place over 10 days at the Los Angeles Convention Center, which features over 870,000 square feet of exhibit space and attracts hundreds of thousands of spectators. As evidence of its commanding influence in the automotive industry, the LA Auto Show is the first of the major shows, giving manufacturers the first opportunity to unveil vehicles that will transform the future of transportation.
The history of the LA Auto Show is both impressive and storied. The first auto show on the West Coast took place in 1907, when 99 cars were on display and drew more than 3,000 car enthusiasts. During the show, the Los Angeles Times boasted that Los Angeles “is without exception the banner automobile city of the world.” A then unknown Henry Ford was in attendance, undoubtedly taking notes and making plans that would later alter the history of transportation. The show would grow exponentially, moving venues 8 times in 23 years.
The resolve of the LA Auto Show was on display as it endured through a calamitous fire in 1929, as well as laboring through the Great Depression despite a precipitous drop in auto sales. The show took a 12 year hiatus following World War II, and came roaring back in 1952. In ensuing years, international manufacturers increasingly became a major part of the show, and the impressive growth of the show continued.
The LA Auto Show was perpetually changing venues in an effort to keep up with the staggering amount of interest, but finally found a permanent home in the LA Convention Center in 1993. Today, the show is a prime opportunity for automakers to unveil new vehicles, as it attracts more than 4,000 media members. This year, it is expected that at least 50 new vehicles will be making their debut.
With so many auto shows taking place across the country each year, it can be difficult for any show to stand out in the crowd. The Los Angeles Auto Show, however, does not struggle to attract the spotlight. According to AutoBlog, the LA Auto Show is unique because of its emphasis on environmentally friendly vehicles. Additionally, the show focuses on the future of the industry by selecting the “Top 10 Automotive Startups.” According to a press release “The startups were chosen because of their potential to shape the future of the new automotive industry and make cars safer, more accessible and more exciting.”
Unknowingly, the Los Angeles Times made both a declaration and a prophecy in 1907. Los Angeles remains, 108 years later, a vital city for the automotive industry, and the LA Auto Show is the personification of that fact. Just as in past years, the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show will feature unveilings of vehicles that will alter the course of transportation.