Automobiles are vehicles that have four wheels and are self-propelled. In a broader sense, automobiles are considered a transportation device that can carry more than one passenger and provide more space than motorcycles. Motorcycles, on the other hand, are self-propelled but usually have less than a dozen passengers.
Before World War II, cars were often necessary in rural areas. After the war, automobile production increased greatly in Europe and Japan. During the 1920s, the American car industry was dominated by large automobiles. However, after WWII, auto manufacturers developed more efficient engines and mass-produced their products. This helped make the automobile industry more competitive.
The first automobile was produced by Edward Butler in 1884. He built a three-wheeler with a horizontal single-cylinder gasoline engine and a drive chain to the rear wheel. A few years later, motorcycles were developed by two German engineers. They were designed to compete with bicycles in Southeast Asia.
Another invention was a small, powerful engine by Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach. It was the predecessor to the ICE engine. Despite its size, the engine was capable of producing 0.5 horsepower at 600 rpm. While the Daimler Reitwagen had a top speed of under seven miles per hour, it still predated ICE automobiles by a year.
A third invention was a three-wheeler with steerable front wheels. The design was similar to the motorcycles that are currently being manufactured. During the 1920s, it was regarded as a toy. Later in the 20th century, it became an important means of transporting both large and small groups of people.
Throughout the early 1960s, the automobile and motorcycle industries were booming. During this period, the United States was referred to as the Land of the Automobile. Several large and famous automakers emerged in the United States. Among them were Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors.
At the same time, European motorcycles were gaining popularity in Southeast Asian cities. These motorcycles were smaller than the cars and had a beetle-like shape, making them ideal for carrying numerous passengers.
One of these was the Stout Scarab, a compact, self-propelling machine with a large passenger capacity. The design was created by William Bushnell Stout. Despite its sleek appearance, it was easy to ride.
Other European imports included BMW and Norton. When the Japanese company Honda decided to enter the American market, it was determined to build its own sales network. Instead of relying on the help of a trading company, it began by establishing a network of dealers on the mainland and in Hawaii.
At the end of the 1950s, American Honda started its sales activities. Initially, it had a small staff. By May 1961, its monthly sales had reached 1,000 units. From then on, the company was in search of sales outlets nationwide.
The company relocated to its present campus in Torrance, California. It moved all its divisions to this campus. As a result, it was able to establish a strong base for its North American expansion.