Automobiles are vehicles designed to transport passengers, goods, or both. They use petroleum, diesel, or battery to power their engines.
Modern automobiles are highly complex technical systems. They are made from thousands of component parts. This includes the engine, transmission, body, safety, and emission-control systems. Manufacturers improve their designs, control systems, and chassis to enhance performance.
Today’s automobiles are better suited for light and heavy traffic. Their stability depends on the weight distribution. For off-road uses, vehicles must be durable and resistant to extreme operating conditions.
The automobile’s primary role in society is to carry people and goods. In the United States, for instance, about 70 million passenger cars are produced every year. Some of these vehicles are designed to run on electrified or hybrid fuel.
The Stout Scarab was a precursor to the minivan. It was designed by William Bushnell Stout for his own engineering firm. His goal was to create a living space on wheels. He used a rear engine and a beetle-like shape.
During the mid-Victorian period, bicycle builder Ernest Michaux of France invented a similar contraption. He named it a “motocycle” and it was sold to customers.
Several court cases have ruled that motorcycles are not automobiles. However, many people still consider motorcycles to be automobiles.
Honda has a limited presence in the light motorcycle segment, although the company’s focus has shifted to the Asia-Pacific region. Motorcycle operating margins have improved in the last decade. Despite the growth of other vehicle segments, Honda remains a huge player in the North American market.