Automobiles are motor vehicles, usually four-wheeled, for carrying passengers and goods. They are usually fueled by gasoline. However, electric cars also exist. Their range is limited and they have to be recharged at charging stations.
Automobiles have been in use since the late nineteenth century. The first vehicle to be built was the Model T, which was introduced by Ford Motor Company in 1908. This runabout sold for $575 in 1912. In 1927, the Model T coupe sold for $290. Several other models were made, including the Model N, which sold for $600.
Henry Ford and his Ford Motor Company developed a new production system and manufacturing method that changed industrial manufacturing. Mass production techniques enabled the company to sell its automobiles in large numbers. Until then, it was difficult to get a car for a moderate price. Using Ford’s manufacturing process, the company was able to manufacture 100 cars a day, ensuring that it could compete with its rivals.
When the Ford company opened its first factory in Highland Park, Michigan, in 1910, it became one of the largest automobile manufacturers in the United States. It was the first to introduce an assembly line, and its vehicles quickly gained popularity. By the mid-1920s, the company had become one of the world’s largest auto manufacturers.
During World War I, the automobile industry played a key role in the war’s production. Manufacturers produced 75 essential military items, totaling $29 billion. That was one fifth of the country’s war production.
After the war, the automobile industry soared in Japan and Europe. These countries had higher per capita incomes, which increased the demand for automobiles. Moreover, the availability of cheap raw materials encouraged mechanization of industrial processes.
Eventually, the United States also surpassed Europe as the world’s leading automobile manufacturing nation. By the 1920s, the three “Big Three” automobile companies – Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler – had emerged.
Today, the United States has over 1.4 billion passenger cars, and about 70 million new passenger cars are manufactured each year worldwide. About half of all passenger cars are made by foreign manufacturers. Because of their technological advances, modern automobiles are highly complicated technical systems. As such, the automobile industry employs scientists, engineers, and research and development personnel.
The automobile industry is one of the most important and universal modern technologies. It is often used as a transportation method in rural areas. Depending on the purpose of the automobile, the design and construction of the vehicle is also different.
Modern automobiles are complex and technologically advanced, with thousands of parts. They are designed to carry passengers and goods on land, and to drive safely. Automotive manufacturers employ research and development engineers, who work to improve their designs, bodies, chassis, and safety and emission-control systems.
The automobile has become the most common form of transport in the world. With more than four trillion kilometers (3 trillion miles) driven annually in the United States alone, it is easy to see why the automobile is so popular.