Automobiles are one of the most important modern technologies. They have a pivotal role in society and economic growth.
Automobiles are self-propelled motor vehicles, usually four-wheeled. They are used to transport people, goods, and other cargo. The vehicle is powered by gasoline or diesel fuel, an electric motor, or a combination of these.
Although there were bicycle-like contraptions in the mid-Victorian era, the modern automobile was not invented until the late 1800s. In 1885, German inventor Karl Benz created the world’s first three-wheeled automobile. He also invented an internal combustion engine and the spark plug.
The first American automobile was built in 1893. The first car race took place in 1895. By 1920, a gas-powered automobile had overtaken the streets of Europe.
As industrialization and manufacturing began to flourish in the United States, the need for an affordable, efficient transportation system grew. After World War II, automobile production in Japan skyrocketed.
A decade later, Henry Ford pioneered mass-production techniques, ensuring that his Model T could be sold at affordable prices to middle-class families. His new assembly line revolutionized the industry.
As the automobile entered the United States, the market became divided into a number of segments. Until the 1930s, the auto industry consisted of only a few large manufacturers. However, during the twentieth century, the industry split into the three major companies – Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler.
Since the 1950s, the automobile has become a global industry. Around 70 million new passenger cars are manufactured every year. This is about half of all cars in the world.