Automobiles are motor vehicles that have four wheels and mainly transport people rather than cargo. They are a major mode of land transportation and have influenced social and economic life since their invention in the late 19th century. The automobile gave many individuals freedom from having to rely on others for transportation and enabled people to travel long distances in a relatively short amount of time. Automobiles have also created industries, jobs, and changed the way we live our daily lives.

There are several different types of cars including trucks, motorcycles, and passenger cars. All of these vehicles have a similar body, which is the outer shell that encloses the mechanical parts of the vehicle. A vehicle’s body is usually made from steel or strong plastics. The body is attached to the chassis, which consists of a frame that holds all other major parts of the car together. The driver operates the car by pressing on pedals to make it move and stop, and turning a steering wheel to guide where the car goes.

Throughout the history of automobiles, there have been many technological advances. These include the electric ignition and electric self-starter, invented by Charles Kettering for the Cadillac Motor Company in 1910–1911, independent suspension, and four-wheel brakes. Despite these technical achievements, the automotive industry experienced a period of stagnation after the 1920s due to market saturation and the development of mass production techniques. During World War II, automakers focused on producing for the war effort and produced one-fifth of the nation’s total war materiel.

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