The automobile is a self-propelling vehicle with four wheels and a steering wheel that is usually powered by a gasoline, diesel or electric internal combustion engine. It has a seat for passengers. Automobiles can also be used for carrying other objects, such as luggage.
Early motor vehicles were fueled by gas or steam. Steam engines could go fast, but they had limited range. Gasoline-powered cars won the race. By 1920, the gasoline-powered car had overtaken the streets of Europe and the United States. In addition to its convenience and speed, it offered a lower price.
As technology improved, so did the design of cars. After the First World War, automakers introduced aircraft-inspired body styles. This, in turn, increased demand for cars, which led to an increase in production. Automakers began to use mass production techniques. These methods required higher outlays of capital and larger volumes of sales.
Automobiles are an important part of the global economy. Sales have been rising, with the number of cars and trucks on the road increasing between five and 10 percent each year. Although the industry is not yet fully recovered, numbers are slowly improving.
In 1899, thirty American manufacturers produced 2,500 motor vehicles. A large portion of these cars were sold on credit. They were made in the early days by bicycle mechanics, who often referred to their creations as “pedal cycles.”
However, in the late 1800s, the concept of mass personal “automobility” took hold. Cars became the mode of transportation for the middle class. With more room and parking space, a car allowed passengers to carry more items. Also, the introduction of new industrial materials allowed cars to be made at a lower price.
Mass production techniques were introduced by Henry Ford. His company, Ford Motor Company, was able to produce 100 cars a day. He also developed a moving assembly line. This method enabled him to reduce the cost of his cars while maintaining state-of-the-art design. Unlike European automakers, who did not implement these manufacturing processes until the 1930s, Ford’s Model T was the first mass-produced, affordable automobile.
In 1919, the Model T sold for only $290, while the price of the Model N, a low-cost, gasoline-powered automobile, was only $600. The Model N was an improvement over the Model T, which offered a more modern and smoother ride. Even after technologically obsolete, the Model T remained relatively unchanged.
During the First World War, the automobile industry played a major role in the country’s production. Manufacturers produced 75 essential military items. Those vehicles were built at a rapid pace, making the automobile a central component of the war effort.
After the Second World War, the automobile industry soared, especially in Japan and the United States. Despite the economic crisis in the Asian region, the automobile industry was not affected by the financial turmoil, and sales continued to rise. Several companies, including General Motors and Chrysler, emerged as the leading automobile manufacturers in the U.S.