Designed to transport people, automobiles have become the lifeline of modern society. In the United States, they have contributed to the economic development of the nation. In addition, they have provided access to education and medical services in rural areas. They also have helped promote outdoor recreation.
In the United States, the demand for automobiles was driven by higher per capita income. They were also produced at cheaper prices. By the end of the nineteenth century, Americans produced 2,500 motor vehicles. By the end of the twentieth century, American manufacturers dominated the industry. In 1980, one out of every six jobs in the country was in the automobile industry.
Automobiles were originally built as bicycle-like contraptions. However, they became more sophisticated as technical innovations were developed. They are a complex technical system that includes thousands of parts. They also have been improved by developing safety systems, emission-control systems, chassis, and drivetrain.
The automobile industry exploded in the first half of the twentieth century. By the 1920s, Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler were the “Big Three” automobile manufacturers. In the United States, they accounted for 80 percent of the industry’s output.
By 1927, Ford sold 15 million Model T coupes. It was the first affordable gas car. The Model T runabout sold for $575. The Ford Motor Company also introduced the Model N, which was a four-cylinder, fifteen-horsepower car.
In the 1920s, the automobile industry became the leading consumer of many industrial products. It also became the backbone of a new consumer goods-oriented society.