Automobiles are one of the most important modes of transportation for humans. The industry is a complex technical system that contains thousands of component parts, such as the body, chassis, engine, drivetrain, and powertrain. These are produced by manufacturers who employ scientists, research and development engineers, and other professionals.
Since the early twentieth century, the automobile has been an essential part of modern society. It has helped promote outdoor recreation, the tourism industry, and better medical care. In the United States, the automobile also brought urban amenities to rural areas. During this period, there was a dramatic increase in the number of Americans using automobiles.
In 1908, Henry Ford introduced the Model T. This car was the first mass-produced gasoline vehicle, and it became available for middle-class families. Using his innovative manufacturing techniques, Ford was able to produce the car in large quantities and lower its price. His production methods soon became the norm for all American auto manufacturers.
After the Second World War, the automobile industry in Europe and Asia grew rapidly. As a result, the industry had become a global enterprise by 1980. Today, there are more than 70 million passenger cars in operation worldwide. Although many of the automobiles are made abroad, the majority of them are produced in the United States.
Throughout the twentieth century, the automobile played a crucial role in changing the society of the United States. In the mid-1920s, the industry ranked first in the value of its product, and was the largest contributor to the petroleum and steel industries. By the late 1920s, the automobile industry had become the backbone of a new consumer goods-oriented society.
Automobiles were initially developed in Germany and France. However, the earliest automobiles were primarily steam powered. This posed problems because the engine had to be started in order to go forward. Also, the engine had a short range. Eventually, the engine could travel up to 500 feet.
By the end of the nineteenth century, automobiles were developed in Germany and France. The German and French automobiles were also the first to use electricity. A German engineer, Gottlieb Daimler, patented a prototype of a modern gas engine in 1889. He later founded the Deutz Gasmotorenfabrik, which was the first automobile factory in Europe.
In addition to the invention of the gasoline-powered engine, the first automobiles in the United States were designed by bicycle mechanics J. Frank and Charles Duryea. They also won the first American car race. Later, the Stout Scarab was designed by William Bushnell Stout for his own engineering firm. Using a rear-engine design, the Scarab had a streamlined, beetle-like shape and was designed to carry multiple passengers.
In the United States, the automobile was quickly dominated by the General Motors Corporation and Henry Ford. Their production methods revolutionized the industrial manufacturing process, and made cars affordable to the middle-class. Soon, Ford was able to produce 100 cars per day. Moreover, he introduced moving assembly lines in his factory, which reduced the cost of the Model T.