Automobiles are a type of vehicle that is self-propelled and powered by an internal combustion engine, primarily fueled by gasoline. They are commonly used for passenger transportation and have four wheels, although some automobiles also have two or more axles and are known as truck-like vehicles.
The automotive industry is one of the largest manufacturing industries in the world, producing over 73 million vehicles worldwide in 2017. In addition to cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs, automakers produce other types of vehicles.
There are a variety of ways that automobiles can be manufactured, from the traditional machining and stamping techniques used by large manufacturers to computer-controlled production methods. The majority of automobiles are manufactured in plants that specialize in car production.
Introducing a new car model usually takes three to five years, from development to assembly. Design and marketing teams often work closely together to create an automobile that appeals to the public’s preferences.
A modern automobile consists of thousands of component parts, each specialized for its own design function. This complexity has been achieved through advances in technology, such as electronic computers, high-strength plastics, and new alloys of steel and nonferrous metals.
It has also been influenced by economic factors such as air pollution, government safety regulations, and competition among manufacturers. Moreover, there has been a pronounced trend in the development of vehicles that are more fuel efficient than their predecessors, with the goal of reducing emissions and limiting dependence on oil.
When developing a new car, designers often study existing models to assess their popularity, while studying public opinion and current trends in consumer preference. They also use computer-aided design equipment to produce basic concept drawings that help them visualize what a final product will look like.
After developing the basic shape of a new vehicle, engineers review its design with styling experts and aerodynamic engineers. They then build clay models to test the appearance of the vehicle and its aerodynamic capabilities.
During this phase, workers are typically positioned at stations called’stands’ to assemble the body of the vehicle. Each worker is responsible for the production of a specific part of the vehicle, such as the front frame or rear end.
These standing positions are held in place with clamping fixtures, while the body of the vehicle is assembled from a multitude of pre-staged panels and braces that are robotically disengaged from shipping containers before being delivered to their specific stations on the assembly line.
The assembly of the body is usually completed before the chassis can be put together, which requires welding and bolting components into place. These processes, which can generate smoke and weld flashes, are necessary to ensure that the vehicle’s exterior is safe for transport.
In the 1920s, American carmakers introduced a new system of automobile production called assembly lines, which were revolutionizing industrial production. These processes allowed Ford to make the Model T car cheap enough for middle-class Americans to afford.
The development of the automobile changed the world in many ways. It enabled people to travel long distances quickly and efficiently, giving them the freedom to work anywhere in the world. It also created a demand for road construction and a plethora of spin-off industries, such as vulcanized rubber and roadside diners.