Automobiles are four-wheeled vehicles that carry people and luggage. They are powered by gasoline, diesel or electrical energy. Automobiles are designed to drive on roads and highways. They are the most common mode of public transportation in the world, with over 1.4 billion automobiles in operation worldwide. The automotive industry is the largest and most complex in the world. Its products range from small two-door economy cars to luxury sportscars. Most modern automobiles are designed to have a sleek and aerodynamic body. The most popular automobile body styles are sedan, coupe, hatchback and station wagon. Many new automobiles are also designed with hybrid fuel-electric engines that use both gasoline and electricity to power the vehicle.
During the first half of the 20th century, more and more Americans acquired automobiles. The automobile revolutionized American society in many ways. It gave people a freedom to travel and explore places they would not have been able to visit before. It allowed families to spend time together, and it helped to make vacations possible. It also allowed urban dwellers to rediscover pristine natural landscapes, and rural residents to shop in towns and cities. It also enabled dating couples to travel in safety and comfort, facilitating relaxed sexual attitudes. It also encouraged more and more women to work outside the home, allowing them to have careers and money to purchase their own cars.
Karl Benz, a German engineer, invented the automobile in 1885. But it was Henry Ford who made this useful gadget available to the masses by innovating production methods to create affordable models of the car. He realized that if he used assembly lines, he could increase the number of cars produced and reduce their cost to the point where they were affordable for middle class families. In addition to reducing the price of automobiles, other important innovations in the automotive industry have improved passenger comfort, engine performance and fuel efficiency. Some innovations even allow the automobile to operate in electric-only mode.
Anyone who owns a vehicle will tell you that it makes their life much easier than taking the bus or having to rely on someone else for transport. Having a vehicle gives you the freedom to travel at your own pace, and avoid having other people in your personal space or risking being late for appointments that can’t be missed. The convenience of an automobile also means that you can live farther from a job and still be able to commute.
In the 1960s, concerns about automobile safety and environmental pollution caused a reevaluation of automobile production and design. The era of the annually restyled road cruiser ended as federal standards were established for automobile safety and emissions of pollutants. The draining of world oil reserves further accelerated this trend. This opened the market to German and Japanese manufacturers, who offered more fuel-efficient, functionally designed, well-built cars at competitive prices. As a result, the American automakers suffered declines in sales and market share as Americans shifted away from traditional automobiles to smaller and less expensive models.