An automobile, motor car or just a car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor. Most definitions of the term specify that automobiles are designed to run primarily on roads, to have seating for one to eight people, to typically have four wheels, and to be constructed principally for the transport of people rather than goods.
The year 1886 is regarded the year of birth of the modern automobile – with the Benz Patent-Motorwagen, by German inventor Carl Benz. Motorized wagons soon replaced animal-drafted carriages, especially after automobiles became affordable for many people when the Ford Model T was introduced in 1908.
The term motorcar has formerly also been used in the context of electrified rail systems to denote a car which functions as a small locomotive but also provides space for passengers and baggage. These locomotive cars were often used on suburban routes by both interurban and intercity railroad systems.
The large-scale, production-line manufacturing of affordable automobiles was debuted by Ransom Olds in 1902 at his Oldsmobile factory located in Lansing, Michigan and based upon the assembly line techniques pioneered by Marc Isambard Brunel at the Portsmouth Block Mills, England in 1802. The assembly line style of mass production and interchangeable parts had been pioneered in the U.S. by Thomas Blanchard in 1821, at the Springfield Armory in Springfield, Massachusetts. This concept was greatly expanded by Henry Ford, beginning in 1914.