It's liberal California - probably the state most coherently opposed to Donald Trump - that pushes the electric (and hybrid) car agenda in the States. Actor Leonardo DiCaprio was cruising around in a Toyota Prius in the Hollywood Hills long before alternatively fuelled vehicles were mainstream like they are today.
While Jaguar could have chosen to launch this on home turf without the backdrop of a motor show, it instead took it to the heartland of green motoring, where it no doubt expects to receive a lot, if not a majority, of sales. The fact that it’s on Tesla's doorstep is likely just an added benefit.
Volkswagen has also identified the LA motor show as its spot to introduce the updated electric e-Golf, which has significantly more range than before. No less than a week after the company launched its facelifted Golf range at its Wolfsburg plant in Germany, it has deemed LA the best place to show off the electric version, a placeholder until its range of all-electric vehicles is introduced, including the production version of the Golf-rivalling ID hatchback concept shown at Paris motor show in September.
LA isn’t just a place for launching EVs, though. Mazda’s second-generation CX-5 is making its debut here because its a key market for the brand, said a spokesman. That and the larger CX-9 lead Mazda’s charge in the States, and while the CX-9 is expected to be more popular, Americans are apparently wising up “to better fuel economy” so CX-5 sales are expected to grow.
So the appetite for SUVs continues. The much-anticipated Alfa Romeo Stelvio is launching here, which, in my mind, is an unexpected venue. That said, some of its sibling companies – Chrysler and Jeep – are American, so perhaps it isn’t so surprising after all.
There are, of course, plenty more manufacturers which haven’t chosen to launch global cars at the LA motor show, but that just makes Jaguar’s move even more shrewd. The launch of a seminal car, in a receptive market, in an uncrowded space? There’s no better PR move than that.