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LA car owners live up to the stereotypes

Is the Prius the new Californian Cruiser?
Is the Prius the new Californian Cruiser?
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Have you ever thought, ‘everyone in Silver Lake drives a Prius’ or ‘during rush hour the 405 looks like a luxury car lot’? Jessica Caldwell, a Senior Analyst at, has been poring over some facts and figures to try and debunk those auto-centric stereotypes.

Caldwell stacked data from the Department of Motor Vehicles on registered automobiles in L.A. County up against industry averages across the U.S. What do the numbers tell us? Not all that surprising. Yes, we like our luxury brands – BMWs and Audis -- way more than those Ford F-150s or Dodge pickups. And we are the champions of the hybrid. In fact, our share of that market is over 100 percent higher than the US national average; hybrids are the fourth most registered vehicle category for California drivers.

We also like to keep up appearances (surprise, surprise), even if we can’t afford it; three out of every four Mercedes Benz’s and almost all BMW 6-series on the road are leased. But before you peg us as a bunch of luxury snobs and smug energy savers, we are bit more sensible than we seem. L.A. tops the national average of compact and sub-compact cars by a small stretch.

What car trends do you notice on the road? Is there a stereotype about L.A. automobiles that is completely untrue? Little deuce coupe, Ford GTO, Malibu convertible – what car says ‘California Dreamin’ to you?


Jessica Caldwell, Senior Analyst,