Automobiles are self-propelled vehicles that carry two to six people and some cargo. Most of them are powered by internal combustion engines that use a volatile fuel (usually gasoline) to turn the wheels that drive the vehicle.
It is not clear who first invented the automobile. Engineers and inventors have contributed to its development over centuries. It has come to mean many things, from a device that propels humans to work and play, to a symbol of status and wealth.
The automobile ushered in a period of rapid economic growth that has transformed the world. It also influenced culture, spawning leisure industries such as restaurants and hotels. Eventually it changed the way people live, with families relying on automobiles to move them from one place to another.
Whether designed for off-road or highway use, an automobile must have durable, simple systems and a high resistance to severe overloads and extreme operating conditions. Those that are intended for high-speed limited access road systems must have optimized passenger comfort options, increased engine performance and optimized high-speed handling and stability.
A robust auto industry helps power our economy and strengthens communities across the country. It requires cutting-edge facilities that assemble millions of cars each year, and major transportation infrastructure to export finished products to points around the globe. Its workers are real people, building the cleanest, safest and smartest vehicles ever. They are a driving force for our future. But today, the auto industry is facing a difficult economic challenge.