What Are Some Facts About the History of Cars?


Quick Answer

Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot invented the very first self-propelled car in France in 1769, which ran on steam and had only three wheels. The Ford Model T, released in 1908, was the first American car made affordable for the general public. By 1916, over half the cars in the world were Ford Model T, and the car only came in black because black paint dried the fastest and allowed the most efficient production.

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Full Answer

Carl Benz created the first modern gasoline-powered automobile in Germany in 1886. Benz' wife, Bertha, took the car out without telling her husband and drove it 66 miles over two days, the first long-distance road trip. Along the way she fixed and invented solutions for any problems that arose.

In 1902, Ransom Olds created the first large-scale production line to increase efficiency and lower vehicle manufacturing costs. In 1914, Henry Ford developed an improved production line system that cut manufacturing time from 12.5 hours to just 1.5 hours per car. These lines, in which each worker stayed working on the same task repeatedly, were the first to dramatically change American industry throughout the 20th century.

As of 2014, the number of cars in the world is estimated at 1.2 billion and projected to double by 2050. San Marino has the greatest number of cars in the world by population with 1,263 cars per 1,000 people, according a 2010 census. The United States ranks number for in the world with 809 cars per 1,000 people, and the lowest ranked as of 2007 is Togo with only two cars per 1,000 people.

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