Automobiles are four-wheeled motor vehicles that run primarily on roads and carry one to eight people. They are generally powered by internal combustion engines that burn gasoline, although some use other fuels and some even operate on electricity. The automobile has revolutionized modern life in many ways and continues to play a key role in the economy, culture, and social development of nations around the world. The automobile industry has spawned thousands of spin-off industries and jobs in the United States alone.
SAVES TIME: Owning a vehicle allows you to travel quickly to places that would otherwise take hours to get to by public transportation. This gives you more time to spend doing the things you love in your spare time. It also helps you cut costs by eliminating the need to pay for costly taxi or bus rides.
PROTECT YOUR FAMILY: The most important reason for owning a car is the safety of your family members. Owning a car will allow you to drive your children to school or to work safely, knowing that they are safe under your watchful eye at all times. It will also allow you to visit friends and relatives without having to rely on others to get you there, or wait around for the next scheduled ride.
AUTOMOBILE TECHNOLOGY: The automotive industry is constantly changing as technology advances. Currently, there are many different types of cars available on the market including hybrids that can run on both electricity and gasoline at the same time. Some are designed to be able to climb hills while others are built for speed and high-performance driving. There are also cars that can go off-road and those with specialized bodies that allow for the carriage of cargo or other specialized equipment.
During the late 1800s, European manufacturers of automobiles began to perfect their designs with such innovations as the 1901 Mercedes, which was considered the first modern motorcar in terms of design and engineering, and Ransom E. Olds’ one-cylinder, three-horsepower, tiller-steered automobile of 1901-1906. By the 1920s, American firms led the world in production and sales of automobiles as Henry Ford innovated mass-production techniques and established the Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler as the Big Three.
As of 1999, more than 87 percent of Americans owned an automobile. These vehicles are a vital part of modern society, providing freedom and mobility for millions of families. However, despite the great benefits that automobiles provide, they may no longer act as a progressive force for change in America. Instead, new forces—electronic media, the laser, and the computer probably foremost among them-are charting a future that will likely meld the Automobile Age into the new Age of Electronics.
During the early 1900s, North Carolina became the center of an industrial automotive revolution. The Ford factory in Charlotte was the largest of its kind in the country, and dozens of other companies sprang up across the state, creating thousands of jobs. This was a time when the middle class was growing, and more and more Americans were able to afford a car for their personal use.