Automobiles, also known as motor cars, are highly complex technical systems. They are designed to carry passengers, goods, and other people. Each automobile has thousands of parts, which are arranged in various systems. Some car bodies are made from fiberglass and others are strong plastic.
The first automobiles were invented in Germany in the late 1800s. But they were not fully developed until the early 1900s. This period is called the Automobile Age.
The automobile introduced new amenities to rural America. In the 1920s, the automobile industry was the largest consumer of many industrial products, including steel. It was also the backbone of a new consumer goods-oriented society. And it transformed the petroleum industry.
Besides its economic impact, the automobile also ushered in the era of mass personal “automobility” in the United States. The automobile made it easier to travel in cities, and it stimulated the development of tourism-related industries.
Moreover, the automobile industry also played a major role in the creation of a modern city. Cars provided jobs to millions of workers. Most of these jobs are located in factories that manufacture automobiles.
Aside from the jobs they provide, the automobiles also pollute the air. Millions of people die in car accidents each year. To improve the quality of life, the automotive industry has been involved in research and development, and has been improving safety and emission-control systems.
Since the 1930s, the automobile industry has evolved to become a global industry. The production of passenger cars in the United States and abroad now totals more than 70 million annually. Today, more than half of the world’s passenger cars are manufactured outside of the United States.
During the 19th century, the steam engine was a popular choice for road transportation, but it was inconvenient to operate. Steam vehicles had limited range and could not go at high speeds. Also, the engines were not easy to start. So, the first automobiles were based on internal combustion engines.
After the introduction of the automobile in the United States, there was a rapid shift in the manufacturing process. Manufacturers used assembly lines to make automobiles more affordable. Moreover, their mass production techniques allowed them to produce a large number of cars on a small scale, and to sell them at a low cost.
Ford Motor Company became the first American manufacturer to adopt mass production methods. By 1927, the company had sold 15 million Model T coupes, a record that stood until the end of World War II.
After the war, the demand for automobiles increased in Europe and Japan. In the United States, the demand for these cars rose due to higher per capita income. However, the era of the annually restyled road cruiser had come to an end. Federal standards for pollution and energy consumption were enacted in 1966 and 1979, and gasoline prices started to rise.
In the late 1920s, the automobile industry was a huge force for change in America. In fact, the first “Big Three” automakers–Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler–were established. These three companies accounted for more than 80 percent of the industry’s output.