Automobiles are a complex, highly engineered machines that provide a mode of transportation for millions of people worldwide. They are also a source of many jobs in factories that make them, as well as at gas stations and restaurants that serve travelers. However, they also pose some major problems. Millions of people die in car accidents each year and automobiles pollute the air that we breathe, causing serious health problems. They are also a drain on the world’s finite supply of oil.
Cars were first developed and perfected in Germany and France toward the end of the nineteenth century by such men as Gottlieb Daimler, Karl Benz and Emile Levassor. In the United States, Henry Ford innovated mass production techniques that revolutionized automobile manufacturing. He, along with William Durant and Alfred P. Sloan, established the “Big Three” auto manufacturers, which dominated American car sales through much of the twentieth century.
After World War II, the automobile became a global industry. The United States, with its huge land area and a hinterland of scattered rural settlements, was a great market for automotive transportation. The absence of tariff barriers encouraged American firms to produce cars at lower prices than European makers, and cheap raw materials enabled manufacturers to make the most of economies of scale. As a result, quality and engineering were subordinated to marketing and design in the postwar era, and the resulting vehicles often reflected a confused mix of questionable aesthetics and poor function.
Today, new technical developments are constantly being applied to automobiles by the companies that manufacture them and the engineers and scientists who work on them. These technical improvements can be found in a wide range of areas, such as the body, chassis, suspension and wheels, as well as the engine, transmission and power distribution systems. The best-known example of a superior technological development in an automobile is the BMW 7 Series, which has been described as combining buttery ride comfort with unruffled cruising ability and driving dynamics.
A vehicle’s fuel efficiency and emissions control systems are also important factors in its success. To improve these aspects, manufacturers must constantly experiment with different designs, such as the use of more and smaller engines or new types of transmissions. They must also keep up with the latest research in physics, aerodynamics and materials science to create better, safer vehicles.
Purchasing a car is one of the most significant investments that an individual can make in his or her lifetime. It’s no wonder that it’s a major event for most families. Whether you’re looking for a practical compact like the Toyota Corolla or an executive sedan with luxury features, there’s sure to be a model that suits your needs. Just remember that your choice will depend on your priorities and your budget. Ultimately, the best way to determine which model is right for you is to take it out for a test drive. This will give you the chance to experience what owning a car is really all about.