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Los Angeles’ Auto Manufacturing Past

During the 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 auto plant, the General Motors facility in Van Nuys, closed in 1992.

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