INVENTION OF AUTOMOBILE
Although the blueprint for the modern automobile was perfected in Germany and France in the late 1800s, Americans dominated the industry in the first half of the twentieth century. Henry Ford innovated mass-production techniques that became standard, with Ford, General Motors and Chrysler emerging as the “Big Three” auto companies by the 1920s. Manufacturers funneled their resources to the military during World War II, and afterward automobile production in Europe and Japan soared to meet demand. Once vital to the expansion of American urban centers, the industry had become a shared global enterprise with the rise of Japan as the leading automaker by 1980.