A four-wheeled road automotive vehicle for passenger transportation, primarily powered by internal combustion. The automobile represents both the promise and the pitfalls of modern life. It is a common carrier for people and goods, provides mobility, promotes commerce and supports many forms of recreation. It is also a source of air pollution, but manufacturers have been employing new technologies to reduce these effects.
Automobiles are a vital component of our economy and support jobs in every state. It is a complex business that requires cutting-edge facilities to build, transport and export millions of vehicles every year. It is a business that involves real people — engineers, technicians, laborers, management and other professionals who work to ensure that the world’s most reliable and safest vehicles are available for consumers.
In 19th century America, the automobile was a subject of great controversy. Die-hard horse lovers snickered, and they predicted that the nation would suffer because it was allowing roads to become overrun with these mechanical contraptions. But a few years later, the car was firmly established on the roads and traffic laws were adjusted to reflect its presence.
Exactly who invented the automobile is a matter of controversy, but historians and enthusiasts usually credit Karl Benz of Germany. Other inventors contributed significant individual elements – valves, pistons and cylinders, for example – to the automobile concept. And a few individuals – John Mohler Studebaker of Indiana, John North Willys of Michigan, Harry Stutz of Ohio, William Crapo Durant of Pennsylvania, Francis and Freelan Stanley of California, Johathan Dixon Maxwell of Massachusetts, and others – had their names on the radiator caps of early automobiles.