Automobiles and Motorcycles


Automobiles are the main modes of transport in modern society. They are generally four wheeled vehicles that are designed to carry passengers and goods. Automotive manufacturers design them to be safe and efficient.

The automotive industry grew quickly in the first half of the twentieth century. During this time, stricter standards were developed to increase safety and emissions. These standards regulated tires, windshields, brakes, head restraints, and lighting.

In the United States, the Ford Motor Company began producing the Model T in 1908, followed by the General Motors Corporation in 1914. By 1939, the Big Three automakers controlled over 90 percent of the market.

After World War II, automobile production grew rapidly in Japan and Europe. With increasing oil prices, the price of gasoline increased. Citizens relied more on imported automobiles.

In the 1970s, Japanese cars outstripped those produced in the U.S. A quota system was created to restrict imports of Japanese cars. This resulted in higher prices for imported vehicles.

From the mid-1960s to the 1990s, consumer safety advocates started pressing for federal safety standards. Eventually, more than 50 safety standards were imposed on vehicle manufacturers.

Automakers lobbied against these regulations. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was given authority to enforce the standards. During this period, Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler were the “Big Three” automakers.

Many automakers had to increase their efficiency by introducing new designs and utilizing industrial materials. Manufacturers also introduced new technology and control systems.

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