An automobile, also known as a motorcar, is a four-wheeled passenger vehicle designed for transportation on a road. These vehicles are usually powered by a gasoline or diesel engine and have a steering wheel and seats for passengers. They are commonly seen on roads, but can also be used off of them. Automobiles can be used to transport people, cargo, and other equipment. The design and construction of an automobile depends on the intended use, the type of road system, and the environment.
For a long time, automobiles were mainly for the wealthy. However, with the invention of the car, the need for automotive transportation was no longer limited to the wealthy. From the late 1800s through the 1920s, automobiles were available to a wide variety of people. This created a new opportunity for individuals to have more freedom and access to jobs. It also opened up opportunities for leisure activities.
The first automobiles were invented in Germany in the late 1800s. Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler are credited with the development of the modern automobile. Other pioneers in Europe included Emile Levassor, Nicolaus Otto, and Wilhelm Maybach. Their creations paved the way for future automobile manufacturers.
In the United States, Henry Ford was the inventor of the automobile assembly line, which revolutionized the industry. His innovations helped lower costs for cars. By the 1920s, Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler became the “Big Three” automobile companies in the United States.
After World War II, the automobile industry boomed in the United States. By the 1980s, it had become a global industry, and by the 1990s, automobiles were widely produced in Japan and other parts of the world.
Although the automobile was first invented in Europe, the United States quickly surpassed Europe to dominate the automobile industry. A chronic shortage of skilled labor encouraged mechanization of industrial processes in the United States. As a result, the cost of raw materials fell, which made it easier for automobiles to be built.
The automobile revolutionized American life. It gave individuals greater personal freedom and access to jobs and a variety of places to live. New laws and regulations were introduced, which allowed people to drive legally. Having a car also meant that people could visit rural areas without having to walk.
During the early 1900s, 485 different companies entered the motor vehicle business. Most of the automobiles manufactured in the US were produced by thirty companies. Many of these companies were founded by engineers and scientists, which helped to ensure the low prices for the automobiles.
Automobiles are a complex technical system that employs thousands of component parts. Manufacturers employ research and development engineers to improve the designs and performance of their cars. Some manufacturers also employ scientists to develop innovative new technologies for the engines, drivetrain, chassis, and safety systems of their cars.
Today, 70 million passenger cars are manufactured worldwide. Half of these cars are made by foreign companies. The automobile has changed American society and contributed to the rise of the leisure activity industry.