Usually four-wheeled, automobiles are used for passenger transportation on land and for goods transport. They are fueled by gasoline or diesel and propelled through an internal combustion engine. These complex technical systems use thousands of component parts.
Modern vehicles have evolved from the introduction of safety legislation and new technologies. The design of the vehicle depends on its intended use. It consists of the body, chassis, drivetrain, engine and safety systems.
The automobile industry was a key force in the twentieth century. It helped the petroleum industry and revolutionized the steel industry. It also brought urban amenities to rural America and spurred tourism. In addition, the automobile brought better medical care to rural communities. The automobile industry was a major employer in the United States, providing one out of every six jobs in 1982.
In the first half of the twentieth century, the automotive industry grew rapidly in the United States. This led to the creation of the three largest auto manufacturers in the world: Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler.
Automobiles are considered an essential part of developed economies. In the United States, the car replaced animal-drawn carriages and stimulated tourism, outdoor recreation, and better schools.
In the 1920s, the automobile industry became the lifeblood of the petroleum industry. The higher unit profits of Detroit on gas-guzzling cars came at a price: increasing air pollution and draining the world’s oil reserves.
After World War II, the automobile industry soared in Europe and Asia. In the United States, demand for automobiles was driven by a growing per capita income. By 1980, the automobile industry was a global enterprise.