Beginning of Automobile Industry

Beginning of Automobile Industry

Beginning of Automobile Industry


With the beginning of the nineteenth century, automobiles entered the transportation market, but only for a fairly limited audience. Though, they soon became highly popular among masses as they gave travelers the liberty to travel when and where they wanted to. Before automobiles, people were limited to only one place. Either they lived and worked in the city, or lived on the country side and worked on a farm. But automobiles, freed people from their geographical limitation. They allowed people to live on the city’s outskirts and able to work in the city by travelling.

As the technology improved, vehicles began to move faster and more people started to buy them. For the change in the twentieth century, automobile sector played a crucial role. By mid century, the automobile industry grew so rapidly that it became the livelihood of gasoline industry, chief buyer of steel industry, and major customer of other industrial products.


According to the early history of automobiles, a French engineer Nicolas J. Cugnot in the year 1769 invented the first automobile. It was the first steam powered automobile capable of human transportation. However, the automobile was not fit for the roads as steam engines were very heavy plus it could only run for fifteen minutes at a stretch. In 1789, Oliver Evans was granted the first automobile patent in the United States. He designed the first steam engine driven automobile in the US.


In 1893, the two American brothers, Charles E. and J. Frank Duryea, founded the first American automobile company named the Duryea Motor Wagon Company. The country’s first mass produced automobile was Curved-dash automobile. In 1908, Ford Motor Company came with the Model T that revolutionized American automobile industry. The Model T was the world’s first mass produced vehicle, around million units were sold by 1920. Henry Ford transformed the rural, agricultural America into urban, more industrialized one.


The beginning of the twentieth century bought the light to the automobile industry, with the first prototype delivered in the late nineteenth century. French woodworking machinery makers Rene Panhard and Emile Levassor built the first car in 1890 with a German designed engine by Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach. Armand Peugeot, a French bicycle maker, licensed the same engine and sold his first four lightweight cars in 1891. Next year, German engine designer Carl Benz manufactured with his four-wheeled car. With the production of 425 ‘Curved Dash Olds’ in 1901, Ransom Olds became the first mass producer of gasoline-powered automobiles in the United States. And the first gasoline-powered Japanese car was produced in 1907.


At the beginning, the automobile industry was dominated by the US, with no notable competitors. However, after World War II, the automobile industry of other nations such as Japan and few European nations gained momentum. And within few years, the automobile sector of the United States was flooded with vehicles of foreign nations, mainly from Japan and Germany.


During the 60s, there was a rapid development in the automobile manufacturing industry. The invention of fuel injection processes, independent suspensions and turbochargers created milestone in the auto industry. From 1969 to 1980, Pontiac Trans Am was the best selling car. From the 1980s, Computer Aided Design (CAD) was introduced for designing vehicles. The first vehicle to be produced using CAD was Ford Taurus. Mass production of cars led to easy availability of vehicles. Ono the other side, the British automobile industry was revolutionized by William Morris and Herbert Austin. Morris manufactured vehicles with engine on the front and Austin Seven was the world’s first compact car.


The first full scale Japanese manufactured companies were Nissan in 1933 and Toyota in 1937. By the end of 1950s, Japan started to export its vehicles to different countries. Earlier these vehicles were not very popular, but gradually make their place. Consequently, the 1973 oil crises helped Japanese vehicles to gain popularity in the global market as Japanese vehicles have smaller engine and were fuel-efficient. In 1980, Japan became the world’s top automobile producing company.



Regions such as Europe, America, and Asia contributed notably towards the development of automobile sector throughout the twentieth century. They together shaped the structure of the automotive industry that exists today. The labor, supplier of materials and configuration of distribution channels are also important dimensions of the growth and evolution of the industry. With inside factors, outside forces such as trade flow, environmental regulation, production, and distribution systems also contributes in the growth of the automotive industry. Along with development and prosperity, the auto industry also faces many challenges few of them like, industry’s slowdown, globalization of vehicle manufacturing, and car companies going bankrupt. The auto industry is vast and dynamic that accounts for maximum jobs in developed countries. This sector plays a vital role in the economic growth of a country. For country’s economic growth, developing countries even consider their local automotive sector as this sector has links with other sectors of their economy.


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