Automobiles and Motorcycles
Usually defined as a four-wheeled vehicle, automobiles have evolved to become one of the world’s largest industries. Modern automobiles are highly complex technical systems, made up of thousands of parts. They are designed to carry passengers and goods, and are usually powered by an internal combustion engine.
The earliest automobiles were made in Europe in the late 1800s. Initially, steam engines were used to power automobiles, but these engines were heavy and were inconvenient to operate. Eventually, gasoline cars emerged as more popular.
Karl Benz, a German, developed the first gas-powered car in 1886. His company soon became the world’s largest automobile manufacturer. By 1900, the company had built Mercedes.
The automobile industry was rapidly growing in Europe after World War II. The demand for automobiles in the United States was also increasing. There was a shortage of skilled labor in the United States, so manufacturers were encouraged to mechanize their industrial processes. They created assembly lines and began producing cars at a rapid pace.
The automobile industry in the United States was dominated by a few large auto companies. These companies were Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler. They were able to compete by producing affordable vehicles for middle-class families. They also improved their production equipment and introduced manufacturing methods that revolutionized the industrial manufacturing process.
By the 1920s, the gasoline-powered automobile had overtaken the streets of Europe. In the United States, the automobile was more affordable because of the American manufacturing tradition.