History of vehicle production dcx
The company introduced numerous product and marketing innovations, but its small size made it difficult to compete with the Big Three and struggled financially. Periodically, other entrepreneurs would found automobile companies, but most would soon fail and none achieved major sales success. Initial auto production after World War II was slowed by the retooling process, shortages of materials, and labor unrest. However, the American auto industry reflected the post-war prosperity of the lates and the s.
Cars grew in overall size, as well as engine size during the s. The Overhead valve V-8 engine developed by GM in the lates proved to be very successful and helped ignite the horsepower race, the second salvo of which was Chrysler's Hemi engine. Longer, lower, and wider tended to be the general trend. Exterior styling was influenced by jets and rockets as the space-age dawned.
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Rear fins were popular and continued to grow larger, and front bumpers and taillights were sometimes designed in the shape of rockets. Chrome plating was very popular, as was two-tone paint. The most extreme version of these styling trends were found in the Cadillac Eldorado and Chrysler Corporation's Imperial. The Chevrolet Corvette and the Ford Thunderbird , introduced in and respectively, were designed to capture the sports car market.
However, the Thunderbird grew in size in and evolved into a personal luxury car. The s were also noted for perhaps one of the biggest miscues in auto marketing with the Ford Edsel , which was the result of unpopular styling and being introduced during an economic recession. The introduction of the Interstate Highway System  and the suburbanization of America made automobiles more necessary  and helped change the landscape and culture in the United States.
Individuals began to see the automobile as an extension of themselves. Big changes were taking place in automobile development in the s, with the Big Three dominating the industry. As urban areas became more congested, more families migrated to the suburbs. Between and , 70 percent of the population's growth occurred in the suburbs. Imported vehicles grew during the s and s - from a very low base.
By , Rambler was the third most popular brand of automobile in the United States, behind Ford and Chevrolet. The four-seat Ford Thunderbird second generation was arguably the first personal luxury car , which became a large market segment. Pony cars were introduced with the Ford Mustang in This car combined sporty looks with a long hood, small rear deck, and a small rear seat.
Muscle cars were also introduced in with the Pontiac GTO. These combined an intermediate-sized body with a large high-output engine. Muscle cars reached their peak in the lates, but soon fell out of favor due to high insurance premiums along with the combination of emission controls and high gas prices in the early s. While the personal luxury, pony, and muscle cars got most of the attention, the full sized cars formed the bulk of auto sales in the s, helped by low oil prices.
The styling excesses and technological gimmicks such as the retractable hardtop and the pushbutton automatic transmission of the s were de-emphasized. The rear fins were downsized and largely gone by the mids, as was the excessive chrome. Safety and environmental issues during the s led to stricter government regulation of the auto industry, spurred in part by Ralph Nader and his book: Unsafe at Any Speed : The Designed-in Dangers of the American Automobile.
This resulted in higher costs and eventually to weaker performance for cars in the s. Seat lap belts were mandated by many states effective in Beginning in , bumpers were required to be reinforced to meet 5-mph impact standards, a decision that was revised in The use of leaded gasoline began being curtailed in the early s, which resulted in lower-compression engines being used, and thus reducing horsepower and performance. Catalytic converters began being widely used by the mids.
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By , imports had increased their share of the U. However, design and manufacturing problems [ citation needed ] plagued a number of these cars, leading to unfavorable consumer perceptions. The auto industry was severely affected by the oil crisis Arab embargo. Small fuel-efficient cars from foreign automakers took a sharply higher share of the U.
Under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act  the federal government initiated fuel efficiency standards known as Corporate Average Fuel Economy , or CAFE in , effective as of for passenger cars, and as of for light trucks. For passenger cars, the initial standard was 18 miles per gallon mpg , and increased to General Motors began responding first to the high gas prices by downsizing most of their models by In , the second oil price spike occurred, precipitated by political events in Iran, resulting in the energy crisis. By , the economy slid into turmoil, with high inflation, high unemployment, and high interest rates.
The automakers suffered large operating losses. One quick fix was a Detroit-built version of their then-new French Simca economy car, the Horizon. As bold and confident as the Big Three automakers were in the s and s, the American auto makers in the s and s stumbled badly, going from one engineering, manufacturing, or marketing disaster to another.
Ford struggled when it was revealed that the Ford Pinto 's gas tank was vulnerable to exploding when hit from behind. Ford knew about this vulnerability but did not design any safeguards in order to save a few dollars per vehicle. They rationalized that the cost of lawsuits would be less than the cost of redesigning the car. Class action lawsuits and efforts from the Federal Trade Commission resulted in buybacks of the cars from GM. In , Japanese automakers entered into a so-called " voluntary restraint agreement " limiting the number of autos that they could import to the U.
Another consequence was that the Japanese car makers began opening auto production plants in the U. These facilities were opened primarily in the southern U. The UAW failed in its substantial union-organizing efforts at these plants.
The Rise of the Automobile Industry
Ford invested in Mazda as well as setting up a joint facility with them called AutoAlliance International. Chrysler bought stock in Mitsubishi Motors and established a joint facility with them called Diamond-Star Motors.
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Front-wheel drive became the standard drive system by the late s. By the mids, oil prices had fallen sharply, helping lead to the revitalization of the American auto industry. Under the leadership of Lee Iacocca , Chrysler Corporation mounted a comeback after its flirtation with bankruptcy in The minivan was introduced in the model year by Chrysler with the Plymouth Voyager and Dodge Caravan , and proved very popular. These vehicles were built on a passenger-car chassis and seated up to seven people as well as being able to hold bulky loads. Chrysler also introduced their " K-cars " in the s, which came with front-wheel drive and fuel-efficient OHC engines.
This proved to be excellent timing to take advantage of the sport utility vehicle boom. In , the company introduced the very successful, aerodynamic Taurus. General Motors, under the leadership of Roger Smith , was not as successful as its competitors in turning itself around, and its market share fell significantly. While Ford and Chrysler were cutting production costs, GM was investing heavily in new technology.
The company's attempts at overhauling its management structure and using increased technology for manufacturing production were not successful. Several large acquisitions Electronic Data Systems and Hughes Aircraft Company also diverted management attention away from their main industry. Chrysler purchased Lamborghini , an interest in Maserati , and Gulfstream Aerospace jets. GM started the Saturn brand in the late s as a way to retake sales from imported cars.
While Saturn initially succeeded, GM later neglected to provide it much support.
http://blog.pankajanand.xyz The s began the decade in a recession, which resulted in weak auto sales and operating losses. In addition, the Invasion of Kuwait by Iraq caused a temporary jump in oil prices. However, the automakers recovered fairly quickly. In the mids, light truck sales which included Sport utility vehicles , Pickup trucks and Minivans began to rise sharply. Low oil prices also gave incentives for consumers to buy these gas-guzzling vehicles. The American automakers sold combined, and even separately, millions of pickup trucks and body-on-frame SUVs during this period.
The automakers also continued their trend of purchasing or investing in foreign automakers. GM purchased a controlling interest in Saab in and Daewoo Motors in , and invested in Subaru in and Fiat in They also purchased the Hummer name from AM General in Ford purchased Volvo in and Land Rover in GM and Ford also established joint ventures with Chinese auto companies during this period. Ford's joint ventures are with Chang'an Ford and Jiangling Ford. While the American automakers were investing in or buying foreign competitors, the foreign automakers continued to establish more production facilities in the United States.
Toyota opened an engine plant in Huntsville, Alabama in along with a truck assembly plant in San Antonio , Texas and is building an assembly plant in Blue Springs, Mississippi. Volkswagen has announced a new plant for Chattanooga, Tennessee. Also, several of the Japanese auto manufacturers expanded or opened additional plants during this period. For example, while new, the Alabama Daimler-Benz and Honda plants have expanded several times since their original construction.
The opening of Daimler-Benz plant in the s had a cascade effect. It created a hub of new sub-assembly suppliers in the Alabama area. This hub of sub-assemblies suppliers helped in attracting several new assembly plants into Alabama plus new plants in nearby Mississippi, Georgia and Tennessee. In , Chrysler and the German automaker Daimler-Benz entered into a "merger of equals" although in reality it turned out be an acquisition by Daimler-Benz. However, a culture clash emerged between the two divisions, and there was an exodus of engineering and manufacturing management from the Chrysler division.
The Chrysler division struggled financially, with only a brief recovery when the Chrysler was introduced.
In , Daimler-Benz sold the company to a private equity firm, Cerberus Capital Management , thus again making it American-owned. The s began with a recession in early and the effects of the September 11 attacks , significantly affecting auto industry sales and profitability. The stock market decline affected the pension fund levels of the automakers, requiring significant contributions to the funds by the automakers with GM financing these contributions by raising debt.