Generally, automobiles are a type of wheeled motor vehicle that can be used for passenger transport, and a large number of people can be carried. They are commonly powered by an internal combustion engine, but some models also use an electric motor. They can be operated by a combination of hand and foot controls, and can be equipped with pedals for brakes and steering. The design and components of automobiles are complex and may be made up of thousands of parts.
The earliest forms of cars were bicycle-like contraptions developed during the mid-Victorian era. In 1867, Sylvester Howard Roper constructed a machine similar to a car. However, it was of little practical use. During the late 19th century, Edward Butler developed a three-wheeled commercial automobile that was also equipped with a horizontal single-cylinder gasoline engine and a drive chain to the rear wheel.
After the invention of the internal combustion engine, automobiles became more widely produced during the early twentieth century. Automakers also developed standardized designs and advertising. This helped promote sales of automobiles, especially in the United States. They also introduced industrial materials such as steel and aluminum for the manufacture of automobiles. Many modern cars are designed with aircraft-inspired body styles. They are typically built to seat a maximum of five or six people, but can carry a much larger number of passengers. They are often modified to increase speed or comfort.
Automobiles can be powered by an electric motor, gas or oil. They can be two or three-wheeled, and they can seat up to eight passengers. The size and weight of an automobile affect its performance and safety. The weight of a car also influences its fuel consumption. Most cars are between one and three tonnes, although larger models can carry as many as seven or eight occupants.
During the first half of the twentieth century, automobiles were available in Europe and the United States. After World War II, the demand for automobiles in these regions increased, and companies began to build cars for these markets. Some of the largest automakers in the world were Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler. These companies dominated the automobile industry during the early 20th century.
The largest automotive market is the US, where there are more than a million vehicles per year. Next in line are China, Japan, India, and South Korea. The automobile manufacturing industry in these countries is expected to reach a total of about 20 million cars and trucks in 2020. The automotive industry in China is the second largest in the world, behind only the United States.
Automobiles were first introduced in Germany during the first half of the 19th century. The Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft was founded in Cannstatt in 1890. The company sold its first car under the name of Daimler in 1892. Soon after, the directors of the DMG refused to cooperate with the Benz & Cie. It was only when economic conditions worsened in Germany that the companies began to re-negotiate. They finally signed an Agreement of Mutual Interest in 1924.