Automobiles have come a long way since the first cars were invented in the late 18th century. Today, they are a complex technical system that includes thousands of component parts. They are designed to transport passengers and goods on land and are fueled by gasoline.
Initially, automobiles were bicycle-like contraptions. But, by the mid-1800s, the scientific building blocks of automobiles had been developed. In the United States, Henry Ford was the inventor of mass production techniques for the automotive industry. His company, the Ford Motor Company, produced more than 100 cars a day.
Until the 1930s, the United States was dominated by automakers in the automotive industry. The United States’ higher per capita income and better distribution of income encouraged demand for vehicles. This helped lower the price of automobiles.
By the late 1800s, Europe was also developing automobiles. However, there was a shortage of skilled labor and cheap raw materials. These factors, combined with market saturation, led to technological stagnation. As a result, European automakers did not start using mass production techniques until the 1930s.
One of the most important innovations was the use of an internal combustion engine. This was achieved by Dutch scientist Christaan Huygens in the late 1600s. An improved version of the gas engine was created by German engineers in 1866.
After World War II, automobile production in Europe and Japan soared. With the demand for vehicles increasing, the automotive industry in the United States also grew. When the Model T, the first mass-produced American automobile, was introduced in 1908, the price of an automobile became affordable for middle-class families.
Another innovation was the introduction of assembly lines in the factories of manufacturers. These new manufacturing techniques made it possible for more than one company to manufacture automobiles. Moreover, the availability of cheap raw materials encouraged mechanization of industrial processes. It also reduced the costs of producing automobiles.
By the 1920s, automobiles had overtaken the streets of Europe and the United States. By then, Ford, General Motors and Chrysler had become “Big Three” automobile companies. Their success paved the way for a rapid increase in the number of automobile manufacturers in the United States.
Ford’s success with the Model T was largely due to the use of mass production techniques. Using the technique, he was able to make the car inexpensively. He sold 15 million Model T coupes by 1927.
A few years later, he opened a factory in Highland Park, Michigan. This was the first of many factories that his company would establish. Before long, other American automobile manufacturers adopted the technology.
For the most part, the modern automobile is based on an internal combustion engine. New technologies such as high-compression engines and syncromesh transmissions have added to the complexity of the system, but they have also led to new designs. Nowadays, one-quarter of passenger cars in the world are manufactured in the United States.
Automotive manufacturing is one of the biggest industries in the world. Automobiles are the most common form of transportation in society.