Brief History of the Automotive Industry 1900-2000

History of the Automotive IndustryThere are many important events that have shaped the automotive industry and made it the thriving market that it is today. This long and extensive history can be confusing at times, however this page highlights the major milestones along the road, detailing how the now multi billion dollar industry got to where it is today.


At the turn of the century, automobiles were too expensive to produce, purchase, and maintain. However, in 1908 the Ford Motor Company introduced the Model T, and with it an exciting new marketing strategy that focused on the average consumer. Marketing was very different back then, with only a small national market. While it’s essential for car companies today to explore digital marketing options, such as SEO Hosting and social media marketing campaigns, back then it was a much more personal affair.

Increased production efficiency in 1913 paved the way for automakers such as General Motors, Dodge, Cadillac, and Chevrolet to begin marketing cheaper cars to the American public.

The 20’s was a time of rapid growth for the industry and saw many first-time vehicle buyers. In the 1930’s the Great Depression had a brutal impact on the automotive industry and saw many up and coming automakers fail within their first few years. World War II halted car production for the everyday consumer, but also prompted rapid growth within the industry. Shifting auto manufacturing efforts towards military exploits encouraged swift technological advances. These advances were later put to use as a more complex road network was established, boosting growth in the 1950’s.


Safety became a major focus for automakers in the 1960’s, with many manufacturers fitting seat belts as standard on all vehicles. The crippling oil crisis in the 70’s forced automakers to temporarily explore fuel efficient vehicles. After the oil shortage ended, automakers focused again on power and speed in their designs as globalization saw a huge market increase. Automakers were no longer catering towards just the US, but the entire world. and began concentrating efforts on design and performance.