Historically, automobiles have been a very important form of transport. They are used for transportation, commerce, and pleasure. They are highly technical systems with thousands of component parts. They are expensive to acquire, are heavily taxed, and are often targeted by thieves. They are also a major source of air pollution.
The first motor vehicles to use an internal combustion engine were developed in Germany during the 1880s. Carl Benz patented the Benz Patent-Motorwagen in 1886. The first Benz automobile was a four-wheeler with a four-stroke engine.
The Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft was founded in Cannstatt, Germany, in 1890. It was located in Hotel Hermann. In 1892, it sold the first car under the Daimler brand name.
During the early twentieth century, the automotive industry in the United States was growing rapidly. Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler formed the “Big Three” automakers. By 1939, they had 90 percent of the market. However, the auto industry began to lose ground to the Japanese automakers.
During the mid-twentieth century, the automobile industry began to focus on manufacturing and advertising standardized designs. This helped auto manufacturers compete more effectively. In addition, new regulations on emissions and safety were enacted.
After World War II, demand for automobiles increased in the United States and other countries. The automotive industry was boosted by higher per capita incomes and economic development. In the 1970s, oil shortages caused the price of gasoline to rise. This led to a reliance on imported automobiles.