Automobiles are vehicles with a built-in internal combustion engine and are designed to transport passengers and goods. They are usually four-wheeled, but motorcycles are also considered automobiles.
Although the first automobiles were designed in Europe, the United States and Japan quickly became leading nations in the automotive industry. These countries experienced tremendous growth after World War II.
In the early twentieth century, Americans established the “Big Three” auto manufacturers: Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler. Their success encouraged other American manufacturers to adopt mass production techniques. This allowed cars to become more affordable to middle-class families.
The automobile industry began to dominate the transportation industry and changed the way America lives. By the beginning of the twenty-first century, the automobile was the primary form of personal transport. Today, about 70 million passenger cars are manufactured each year.
An automobile’s stability and performance depend on the weight distribution of its components. A vehicle’s stability and performance also depends on its location and size of its engine.
During the First World War, the automobile industry contributed significantly to the war effort. It manufactured 75 essential military items. That totaled to $29 billion, or one-fifth of the nation’s total war production.
Before the First World War, automobiles were primarily bicycle-like contraptions. They had short ranges, were difficult to start, and were based on steam engines. Manufacturers began to produce new designs more frequently.
Throughout the twentieth century, the automobile industry became a lifeline for the petroleum industry. Cheap, readily available raw materials encouraged the mechanization of industrial processes.