L.A. Auto Show: Carmaker Parties Focus on Experiences, Hollywood Tie-Ins

Manufacturers like Maybach, Lincoln, Audi, and Land Rover drew guests outside the convention center's walls for vehicle debuts and experiential programs.

By Alesandra Dubin November 26, 2014, 6:45 AM EST

Photo: Nick Dimbleby

The Los Angeles Auto Show kicked off at the L.A. Convention Center with press and trade days on November 18 to 20, and it continues through the Thanksgiving holiday weekend with public days through November 30.

Outside the convention center walls, many automakers took over venues around town with events that both touted their newest cars and offerings—and also capitalized on the uniqueness of the Los Angeles market, with its conversation-sparking residences and entertainment industry influence.

“The primary focus every year is our current news relevant to each particular market, but we also like to leverage our strong presence in the entertainment industry while celebrating the L.A. Auto Show,” said Audi's Michael Patrick. On November 19, Audi followed its announcement of a new concept car and other new designs for 2016 with a sleek private party on the rooftop of the London West Hollywood.

Also calling upon the influencers in—and photogenic quality of—Hollywood was Lincoln, which hosted guests as well as events at a residence high up in the hills. To fete Lincoln Black Label, a collection of membership privileges and interior themes, the automotive company created Lincoln Black Label at Home, a tricked-out house intended to introduce customers to the program.

“Black Label represents a new level of Lincoln luxury in terms of product execution, and it is a distinct way of addressing highly personalized service. For example, customers can choose to have a sales person come to their home to learn about the product. By illustrating Black Label in a home, we emphasize our recognition that the greatest luxury to a client is in fact their time,” said Lincoln Group marketing manager Andrew Frick.

Beyond that, he said, “Black Label is personal, and nothing is more personal than where a client lives. [The format] put a spotlight [on Lincoln Black Label], beyond a traditional auto show stand or a traditional facility. It is fitting for us to launch the program in Los Angeles around the auto show as the city has a dynamic driving culture that is matched by its appreciation of luxury.”

Luxury was a key element at Maybach's November 22 event in the nearby hills of West Hollywood. The outing at the dramatic Sunset Plaza House honored Quincy Jones as the brand's 2014 Icon of the Year and also unveiled the Quincy Jones Collection, a leather luggage and eyewear collection.

Land Rover also held court in West Hollywood in honor of its new Discovery Sport. At the reception, guests found an all-terrain vehicle demonstration course right in the Pacific Design Center’s open plaza. And in the midst of the showy outdoor course, a giant pair of Union Jack rain boots were an eye-catching nod to the carmaker's clothing collaboration with the British brand Barbour.

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