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A close up of a robotic arm working on a car.
  1. Changes in Industry in the United States
  2. U.S. Auto Industry
  3. Changes in the U.S. Automobile Industry
  4. The Auto Industry in the Midwest
  5. Foreign Investment in Industry in the U.S.
  6. Workplace Safety Standards
  7. Work-related Injuries and Deaths
  8. The American Dream and the Housing Industry
  9. The American Dream and the Mobile Home
  10. The Rust Belt
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A yellow car from the 1950s in front of a red tree
A symbol of American affluence: the automobile.
Photo Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division. Photo by Theodor Horydczak.
U.S. Auto Industry
The United States has dominated the automobile industry since the industry began at the beginning of the twentieth century. Although Europeans had hand-built automobiles, the mass production of automobiles using standardized, interchangeable parts and the assembly line was an American invention. Henry Ford developed the moving assembly line in 1913 in order to produce his famous Model T Ford car cheaply for a mass market, and it revolutionized industrial production. Although there were many smaller companies, by the early 1920s, the “Big Three”—Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler dominated the U.S. market. The automobile industry boomed during World War II with the production of vehicles and other materials for military use. After the war, the industry met the growing consumer demand for automobiles, and companies began to compete with attractive styling and model variety as well as technological innovations. Fancy new American cars became an essential part of the American Dream in the 1950s, and the development of a national highway system promoted the use of the automobile for recreational travel.
Special Terms: World War II

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