Automobiles, also known as cars, are wheeled motor vehicles that carry passengers and operate on roads. They are powered by internal combustion engines, electric motors, or a combination of both, and come in a variety of shapes and sizes to meet different needs. Most modern automobiles use a gasoline (or sometimes diesel fuel) engine to produce the power that drives the wheels.

The automobile has changed the lives of countless people. It has opened up new possibilities for travel, work and recreation. It has enabled urban dwellers to escape to the country and rural residents to visit cities. It has sparked the growth of cities and towns across America, and it has sparked the development of industrial economies worldwide. It has sparked the development of culture, fashion and lifestyles that would never have occurred without the automobile.

An automobile is a complex technical system with subsystems designed to perform specific design functions. Those systems include the body, chassis, powertrain, suspension, and drive system. They must withstand heavy loads, severe overloads, and extreme operating conditions. They must also be able to handle high speeds and optimize passenger comfort, vehicle handling and stability at highway speeds. Moreover, the design of an automobile must reflect its intended use. Vehicles that are designed to be used off road must have robust, simple systems and high resistance to damage or failure.

Historically, automobiles have been a luxury item for the wealthy and have been one of the most influential inventions in human history. However, in the early 1900s, technological improvements made them more affordable for the middle class and it was then that the automobile became a fixture in American society.

By the 1920s, Ford, General Motors and Chrysler had consolidated control of the industry with 80 percent of the market share. In the United States, Ford innovated mass production techniques at his Highland Park plant in 1910, a process that was soon adopted by other manufacturers, making it possible for the average American family to own an automobile.

Today, there are 1.4 billion automobiles in operation worldwide. More than three trillion miles are traveled in them each year. The automobile has become the primary mode of transportation for many people, and it is a major source of employment in the manufacturing sector. In the US alone, the auto industry employs more than 11 million workers and generates over $750 billion in revenue annually. It is also the second largest contributor to GDP in the US after agriculture. In the US, there are a wide range of automotive options available from small economy models to luxurious limousines. The US is home to many of the world’s leading automotive manufacturers, including Toyota, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. There are also numerous automotive colleges in the United States. Students interested in this field of study can pursue a degree in automotive engineering, automotive technology or transportation technology. These degrees can lead to careers in manufacturing, sales, service and design.

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