Automobiles: the Road to the Present


Every year, car designs are getting better, faster, safer and comfy. Big brands like BMW, Mercedes, and Toyota have taken an unwavering stand in the world market. The auto industry itself is a multibillion-dollar sector today. Today, car innovations are taking the world by storm. The electric, the hydrogen and the driverless, these are concepts that once sounded so surreal. If people like Benz or Maybach were to wake from their graves now, they would be surprised at what their inventions have been turned into. Not to say they wouldn’t like it.

Europe took the lead in 1886

The first automobile was made in 1886 in Germany. It was nothing but a steam-powered carriage that could hardly accommodate two people. The world was looking for a better option than horse-drawn carriages, and Karl Benz seized the day with his gasoline powered car. Europe became the first commercial car maker in the world.

The US springs to action in 1893

By 1893 the United States had seen inventions by Wilhelm Maybach, William Morrison and Frank Duryea contribute significantly to the automobile industry. In 1908 an automobile manufacturing plant in the USA was being run by Ransom Olds, and later on General Motors. Ford, Cadillac, and Oldsmobile followed soon with creative vehicle designs.

1891, Need for speed and luxury

From 1891, there were many car manufacturers in the industry. This pushed manufacturers to focus on making their models faster and comfortable. The first luxurious car was manufactured by Packard in Ohio in 1899, USA. Renault in France made the first closed car in the same year. In 1901, Mercedes introduced the fasted car capable of 90 km/hr. +

The world war in 1914 increases demand

The World War 2 created a huge demand for motor vehicles and aircraft engines. A year earlier, Ford had become the biggest manufacturer of automobiles aided by their moving assembly concept. Citroen in France as well as Opel located in Germany soon copied the moving assembly concept and started to produce cars in bulk by 1924.

The 1960s, smaller car inventions and the rise of Asian manufacturers 

After the war, manufacturers focused on improving engine performance and making their body designs more compact. Smaller cars like the Beetle by Volkswagen started a trend of smaller vehicle manufacturing. Smaller vehicles consumed less fuel. In the same period, Toyota in Japan began producing vehicles that could compete in the European and USA markets. In 1969 Nissan’s Datsun took the world’s center stage with its rear wheel drive and two doors.

The 1980s, Globalization

Auto manufacturers in the USA, as well as Europe, started merging and forming big conglomerates through the world. Manufactures from different countries set up plants in various parts of the world to meet the demand for their cars. With improved economies in many parts of the world, luxury and fast car manufacturers started to get a bigger share of the market.


There is still a struggle to reduce fuel consumption and waste emissions. In 2007 GM introduced Chevrolet Volt. This car can run on battery power alone, no fossil fuels. In 2010 Nissan Leaf became the first mass-produced electric vehicle. Mercedes Benz on their G –Code model used a multi-voltaic paint that absorbs solar energy and turns it into electrical power for powering the vehicle.

In 2014 Tesla Motors introduced Model S cars that could move completely on autopilot. This follows other driverless cars by Google, Mercedes, and Nissan. Driverless cars is a matter of public acceptance now.

Interesting facts 

  • In 2013 alone 72.2 million cars were sold globally. Of these, 64 million were passenger cars
  • Volkswagen remains the top leader in manufacturing, while GM has the biggest number of vehicles sold
  • Germany has the highest vehicle ownership; 536 cars per 1000 inhabitants. Japan follows with 493 per 1000 inhabitants
  • The number of sales for cars in the world has doubled, but the number of two models introduced has remained constant
  • The top auto manufacturing nations within the world include Germany, Italy, France and Britain

Carby country  

German: Mercedes, Porsche, Audi, BMW, Volkswagen, and Benz. 

Italy: it is the Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Lamborghini, Maserati and Ferrari. 

France: Citroen, Alphine, Renault Peugeot and Bugatti.  

Britain: McLaren, Aston Martin, Rolls Royce and Land Rover 

USA: Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac  

Japan: Suzuki, Honda, Lexus, Toyota, Infiniti, Mazda, Mitsubishi and Nissan 

Korea: Hyundai and, Kia and Daewoo 

China: Geely, Chery, Hong qi, Brilliance and BYD  

 The vehicles that we see on our roads today started as very small inventions. Today they are faster, more comfortable, environmentally friendly and affordable.

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The author Is44c