Throughout the history of mankind, automobiles have been a lifeline, providing the transportation necessary to get to work and school, as well as to travel to places. Typically, automobiles are four wheeled vehicles that are driven by an internal combustion engine. The most common vehicle type in the world today is a passenger car. However, there are several other types of automobiles.
There are also trucks, buses, and trailers. In addition to being used as personal transportation, cars are also used for goods transport. There are thousands of components that make up an automobile, including engines, drivetrain, chassis, body, and safety systems. The development of these subsystems has been driven by the competitive forces of auto manufacturers in the world.
The earliest automobiles were bicycle-like contraptions, which were designed to carry passengers. The first automobiles were invented in France and Germany in the late 1800s. The earliest commercial three-wheeler was built by Edward Butler in 1884. His design had a horizontal single-cylinder gasoline engine with a drive chain to the rear wheel.
In the United States, the demand for cars was higher than in Europe. As the per capita income of Americans increased, the need for more efficient automotive transportation grew. In addition, the lack of tariff barriers encouraged sales over a wider geographic area. The automobile industry in the United States quickly dominated the world market during the first half of the twentieth century.
By 1920, the gasoline-powered automobile had overtaken the streets of Europe. In the United States, auto manufacturers benefited from the manufacturing tradition of American automobiles, which lowered the price of cars. As a result, automobiles became affordable to middle-class families.
During the early 1900s, there were about 485 companies involved in the motor vehicle business. These included the Ford Motor Company, General Motors, and Chrysler. By the 1920s, these companies were considered the “Big Three” auto makers.
The Ford Model T was introduced in 1908 and became the first mass-produced gas car in the United States. The company was able to build 100 cars a day and made them available at prices that were more affordable to middle-class families. In 1914, the company installed a moving assembly line in its factory in Highland Park, Michigan, making the car less expensive to produce. In 1927, the Model T coupe sold for $290 and the runabout for $575.
The development of the automobile in the United States was fueled by a chronic shortage of skilled labor and cheap raw materials. This resulted in the mechanization of industrial processes, which created the need for more efficient, automated transportation. In 1927, the Ford Motor Company produced 15 million Model T coupes.
In the late 1800s, German pioneers such as Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler were experimenting with gasoline-powered vehicles. By 1901, Wilhelm Maybach had designed the Mercedes. In addition, Karl Benz patented the Benz-Motorwagen.
During the early 20th century, Henry Ford began to use innovative manufacturing techniques that revolutionized the industrial manufacturing process. He also committed to making the Model T affordable for middle-class families.