In 1902, Auto Vehicle Company in Los Angeles began manufacturing the first production motor vehicles in California. That effort eventually ended by 1910 with perhaps less than 3,000 units produced. From the late 1940s through the 1960s, Los Angeles County had become the second largest auto manufacturing region in the nation, following closely behind Detroit. Studebaker, Chrysler, Ford, Kaiser-Frazer, General Motors, Studebaker and Willys-Overland (Jeep) manufactured vehicles here. At its peak, more than 15,000 auto workers assembled half a million cars per year. By 1965, the Los Angeles Times even suggested that Los Angeles had replaced Detroit as the nation’s auto capital. When the 1970s arrived, imports began consuming a significant portion of the auto market in Los Angeles. In 1971, the Chrysler plant in the City of Commerce became the first major auto plant to close down. Other plant shutdowns followed until the region’s last remaining automobile assembly plant, the General Motors facility in Van Nuys, closed in 1992.
|Company||Plant Name||Location||Products||Year Opened||Year Closed|
|Ford||Los Angeles Assembly Plant (Original)||Originally @ 12th & Olive St, then (1912) @ E Seventh St & Santa Fe Ave, Los Angeles||Ford Model T||1911||1930|
|Willys-Overland||California Factory||6201 Randolph St, Maywood||Jeep||1929||1954|
|Ford||Long Beach Assembly Plant||700 N Henry Ford Ave, Long Beach||Ford Model A||1930||1959|
|Chrysler||Los Angeles Plant||5800 S Eastern Ave, Commerce||Dodge, Plymouth||1932||1971|
|Studebaker||Los Angeles Assembly Plant||4530 Loma Vista Ave, Vernon||Studebaker||1938||1956|
|Ford||Maywood Assembly Plant||5801 S Eastern Ave, Commerce||Lincoln, Mercury||1948||1957|
|Kaiser-Frazer||Long Beach Assembly Plant||Long Beach (Adjacent to Airport)||Deluxe, Special, Traveler||1949||1951|
|General Motors||South Gate Assembly Plant||2720 Tweedy Blvd, South Gate||Chevrolet, Buick, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Cadillac||1936||1982|
|General Motors||Van Nuys Assembly Plant||Van Nuys, Los Angeles||Chevrolet, Pontiac||1947||1992|
|Nash Motors/American Motors||El Segundo Plant||El Segundo||Nash||1948||1955|
|Ford||Los Angeles Assembly Plant (Latter)||8820 Washington Blvd, Pico Rivera||Mercury, Edsel||1958||1980|
Source: Wikipedia & Almanac Research
In 1914, Ford Motor Company opened Southern California's earliest auto assembly plant in Los Angeles to assemble Model T Fords. In 1930, Ford moved its manufacturing to a plant in Long Beach alongside the harbor and produced 1.5 million vehicles there before closing the plant in 1959. Many employees from the closed plant transferred to the Ford plant in Pico Rivera.
During World War II, all automobile manufacturing for civilian use came to a halt. Most plants were converted to military production, some manufacturing aircraft and aircraft parts.
The GM plant in South Gate was the first to build multiple car lines as an effort to cut production costs during the Great Depression. During the 1950s, it put out more vehicles than any other GM plant.
When the second Ford plant opened in 1930 in Long Beach, the original Los Angeles Assembly Plant to be closed had been producing 225 cars daily.
The Los Angeles Assembly Plant of Ford Motor Company closed in 1980 and was purchased by Northrup Grumman for aircraft manufacturing. It became the home of the B-2 Bomber.
Portions of the sites of the former auto manufacturing plant in Pico Rivera (Ford) and in Van Nuys (GM) are now shopping centers.