Automobiles are four-wheeled vehicles that are designed for passenger transportation and typically powered by internal combustion engines using a volatile fuel. The modern automobile is a complex technical system comprising thousands of individual parts with specific design functions, including safety, comfort and power. Its performance depends on the vehicle’s intended use, and the automobile’s body must be shaped to ensure that it provides clear visibility through well-placed glass areas. The vehicle must also be cost-efficient and easy to manufacture, with a durable structure, and its components must resist severe overloads and operating conditions.

During the early 20th century, automobiles transformed America by giving people more freedom to move about. This resulted in the growth of leisure activities and new services, such as hotels and restaurants. It created a demand for a whole range of products, from gasoline and rubber to plastics. Many new industries and jobs developed to produce these goods. Governments paved the way for the development of roads and highways.

However, after World War II automobile production slowed to a crawl as manufacturers focused on producing for the war effort. This combined with a slowdown in technological innovation, and questions began to surface about the quality of American cars’ nonfunctional designs and their economic impact through “gas guzzlers”. This opened the market to foreign imports, especially the fuel-efficient, functionally designed and well-built vehicles from Japan. Today, the automobile is one of the most important tools for global mobility and trade, providing personal transport for millions of people, connecting communities and promoting the flow of goods and ideas.