Throughout the modern world, automobiles play a vital role. From transportation to trading, vehicles are used by billions of people. They are highly technical systems that incorporate thousands of component parts. They include the engine, suspension, steering system, and odometer.
Automobiles began as simple bicycle-like contraptions in the mid-Victorian era. The invention of the first true automobile was credited to Karl Benz from Germany. Automobiles began to dominate the streets of Europe by 1920. In the United States, demand for automobiles grew as the population increased and the per capita income rose.
The United States had more affordable raw materials and greater demand for automotive transportation than Europe. The mechanization of industrial processes encouraged automobile production. The automobile industry played a critical role during the First World War.
By the end of the twentieth century, Americans had dominated the automobile industry. Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler emerged as the “Big Three” auto companies. They accounted for about 80 percent of industry output.
Throughout the twentieth century, automobile technology was facilitated by new discoveries and technologies. Safety legislation, air pollution control legislation, and competition among manufacturers around the world played a significant role in the development of automobile subsystems.
In the United States, the automobile manufacturing tradition made cars affordable to middle-class families. The automotive industry became global in the 1980s. The automobile industry became one of the largest industries in the world. Today, there are 243 million car registrations in the United States.