Perhaps no invention affected everyday life in the 20th century more than the automobile. Engineer Karl Benz is credited with inventing the first one around 1885, but it was businessman Henry Ford who revolutionized car manufacturing by introducing the assembly line. This allowed him to produce automobiles more cheaply, making them affordable for middle-class families. The automobile reshaped society by giving people the freedom to travel long distances to work, shop, and visit friends and family. It also helped increase social mobility, allowing people to move from town to town or state to state to find better paying jobs.
AUTOMOBILES ARE CRITICAL TO THE ECONOMY
The American automotive industry provides jobs for millions of Americans, and its factories are some of the most advanced in the world. The industry uses cutting-edge technology to assemble and ship millions of cars each year to customers in the United States and around the world. It is a vital part of America’s economy, and it helps power the global economy as well.
THE INDEPENDENCE OF THE AUTHORITY
An automobile is a wheeled passenger vehicle with a motor and seating for one to six people. It is usually designed to run primarily on roads, and it can be powered by gasoline, diesel fuel, or another type of engine. There are many different types of cars, and some of them are designed for specific purposes, such as crane vehicles at construction sites or fork-lifts in warehouses.
COMMUNICATION: A WAY OF LIFE
Automobiles have become the primary form of transportation in most developed countries. In the United States, more than 85 percent of families own at least one car, and most have two or more. The automobile has had a profound impact on the lives of Americans, transforming their communities and their way of life. It has brought with it the development of new services such as gas stations, hotels, motels and fast-food restaurants; new leisure activities like swimming pools and amusement parks; and even new family traditions like road trips. But it has also brought with it a host of problems, including air pollution from the exhaust of burning gasoline and traffic jams, which led to the enactment of laws requiring safety features, highway rules and driver’s licenses.
OPENES UP THE WORLD: A SAVING OF TIME
The automobile has opened up the world to millions of Americans, enabling them to travel to places that were previously impossible or impractical. It has allowed urban dwellers to rediscover pristine landscapes, and it has given rural inhabitants access to the amenities of town and city living. Teenagers have gained the independence to drive, and dating couples have found a new freedom in their car trips together. The automobile has shaped the nation’s culture, but it is now being supplanted by new forces of progress. The Age of the Car is fading into the Age of Electronics. The American automotive industry is poised to meet the challenges of this changing world.