LOS ANGELES: THE HEART OF CAR CULTURE IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
How Los Angeles became Pirelli’s next frontier in the United States
The immediate association between Los Angeles and Hollywood as the center of the world’s entertainment industry creates a glamorous cultural backdrop for Southern California. As the undisputed hub of western pop culture, Los Angeles has an influence on both national and international culture that is undeniable. From the movie industry, television, music and fashion to trend setting in general, the collective impact of Los Angeles is huge, making it the most influential locale in the United States and possibly the world. In addition to the massive entertainment industry, the Los Angeles metro area is also home to thriving art, technology, and design communities, stunning architecture and top-notch beaches and parks, making it a unique, rich culture with something for everyone. All of this, and we didn’t even mention the weather. A top draw in and of itself, there are 284 days of sunshine in Los Angeles per year. With an average temperature of around 70 degrees, the weather in Southern California invites locals and guests to spend time in the sun, calling for a more relaxed approach to life for which the area is famous.
So how does this glamorous cultural center directly relate to Pirelli? It has to do with how Californians explore their sunny, sprawling metropolis –behind the wheel of their vehicle. Most Californians drive – and who’s to blame them? California is home to some of the best scenic driving routes in the United States. Urban and suburban planners assume that most city dwellers travel by car, therefore the city’s growth has factored in ample parking facilities near all shopping centers, business offices, and cultural institutions, further facilitating the urge to hit the road. With so much driving on a daily basis, many Angelenos have a special relationship with this mode of transportation. Not only are cars vital for life in and around the city, they are also, in a location as image conscious as LA, an opportunity for expression that becomes an extension of the driver, reflecting personal style and tastes.
In Southern California, as with Pirelli, driving and style go hand-in-hand; therefore it is not surprising to find a large concentration of the most renowned car marques on Los Angeles streets. California has the largest share of the United States car park overall, where it also claims the most prestige (24%*) and premium vehicles (16%*) in the nation. Looking at Southern California’s available dealer network in particular, this should come as no surprise. As home to the most Ferrari dealerships world-wide, Southern California also has retail outlets for renowned super premium brands such as Pagani, Lamborghini and McLaren. Of course, being the tire manufacturer with the largest number of homologations with prestige and premium car marques - 1,744 in 2015 alone globally – that means a lot of Pirelli tires on California freeways.
In addition to the impressive array of cars on the road and available to purchase, there is also a high level of influence in the automotive industry that adds an interesting element to the story. Though Los Angeles is not an automotive manufacturing hub on par with Detroit, Southern California is home to a significant amount of automotive design centers, including BMW, Mercedes Benz, Ford, Volkswagen and Honda/Acura, among others. This concentration of design centers, all within a 120 mile radius, is within close proximity to the Southern California-based entertainment and technology communities that provide inspiration for new development and design in the automotive industry.
Outside of design studios, regular Angelenos and top tuners alike are intent on making their unique mark on the industry through personalization, which has become king in Southern California, fostering a healthy tuner community and a wide range of automotive enthusiasts groups. Testament to its devotion to custom cars, the specialty equipment manufacturers association (SEMA), an organization supporting the manufacturers that keep the custom culture alive, is located in Diamond Bar, California. Additionally, some of the greatest car customizers in the world can be found in Southern California, including four time Ridler award winner Chip Foose, whose renowned vehicles have gained much attention on television in the most respected automotive publications.
Being at the center of all things automotive, Los Angeles is also home to numerous car related events – many of which Pirelli is proud to take part in. First and foremost, Pirelli is the official Tire Sponsor for the Los Angeles Auto Show, which has grown in recent years to enter the realms of Frankfurt, Geneva, Paris, Tokyo and Detroit in importance. The annual show typically features between 20 and 40 world debuts attracting press from around the globe. Outside of the large trade shows, there are many smaller automotive enthusiast activities, spanning informal meets such as “Cars and Coffee” – where drivers meet to show off their prized vehicles and chat over coffee – to fan-driven groups dedicated to individual car marques. For drivers and automotive fans with a “need for speed” there are four motorsports tracks located in the greater Los Angeles area: Auto Club/Fontana Speedway, Riverside Raceway, Button Willow and Willow Springs, each with a full calendar of activities for both professional and amateur drivers. There are also world-class motorsports events held in the greater Los Angeles metro area, most notably the Long Beach Grand Prix - where the Pirelli World Challenges competes - which is one of the premier street racing events in the world.
Pirelli recognizes Los Angeles as the perfect fit and location for its newest brand initiative in the United States. With an exceptional mix of car culture, style and innovation, Los Angeles is exactly where the brand wants to be. Whether it’s through serving as the official tire of the Los Angeles Auto Show or sponsoring the beloved local baseball team – the LA Dodgers, Pirelli is building with a deep relationship with the community and local population, which increasingly presents itself as a perfect partner for growth and business development. As Pirelli continues to expand its dealer network, marketing efforts and brand campaigns within the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area to serve its passionate drivers and automotive enthusiasts, it’s clear that the sky is truly the limit!