History of the Automobile Business and Shipping

Submitted by Charles Boutwell

on 03/01/18

Automobiles have been around for almost over 100 years now and have been a thriving business for many to go into too as well but don’t let the simplicity of the business fool you. It’s a cutthroat industry where every couple of months the newest and most ingenious models is being put out for consumer use. If a company doesn’t keep up then their business might fail. Even if a company does keep up, they can’t sacrifice speed of production for quality because if they mess up and their car has problems then they have to recall the car and refund the money back. They have a narrow line of production quality and speed that they must stay on if they want to keep their business booming. The Automobile business started in the early 1900’s (though the first automobile idea was thought of in 1771, a steam powered vehicle that was impractical because of speed restraints) by the Germans who produced a two cylinder gas engine and 4 speed transmission car that could travel up to 10 MPH. The first ACTUAL mass produced cars were made in America though by two fellows named Ransom Olds and Henry Ford. Ransom made the “Dash Oldsmobile in 1901 and in Henry Ford was the first to assembly line mass produce a car in 1908 with the “Model T”. Though the real FIRST automobile made was by Karl Benz, A German man, in 1885-1886 when he made the “Benz Patent Motorcar”.

With cars coming to an increase in demand very rapidly at the time of release so did the need of shipping them. By the 1930’s the mass production of cars had reached millions and was still rising as cars became cheap enough for the average family of the time to afford one. Cars were commonplace and found on every street corner. With the production of cars rising it only made sense that the need to ship them raised. At first, the producers of said cars were at a stump. How would they ship it? The most practical use they could think of at the time was the railroad. Would they ship it on the railroad at the time? They used it for a little while at the time but they found it inefficient, time consuming, and way too much money because at the time technology wasn’t far enough for boxcars to hold that many cars inside of them, so how would they solve this dilemma? Thus the Auto Shipping Business was born. The inefficiency of railroads led to German Engineers making something new over a century later after much trial and error that were special boxcars called “Auto Racks” to carry up to 10 cars at once. This was an ingenious idea but took up a lot of space on the train so Canadian engineers improved on it to make bi-level carrier similar to boxcars but two levels and closed on both ends. These are still used to this day. Back then, big corporations generally preferred Air or Sea as American Society was starting to lean more toward to foreign made cars. Sea travel was interesting back then because they didn’t have any ship that could transport automobiles back then until 1957 when the U.S. military contracted Sun Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in Pennsylvania to create a carrier that could transport a large amount of vehicles to desired locations. The ship created was “The Comet’, it had a ramp that would allow vehicles to drive up into the ship and back down, excellent ventilation to remove exhaust fumes, and a system to lock the cars into place during travel. This drastically improved auto transport in the time as companies started building after this model. The first pure car carrier not under the military was the “European Highway” created by a Japanese company called “K-Line” in 1973, and it could hold up to four- thousand two- hundred cars. In the sixties it became the most popular method of the time, overshadowing air transport by a large margin. Speaking of Air Transport, it didn’t have any specific breakthroughs at the time. They just used it to transport cars using a medium sized airplane, which soon became larger as engineers made bigger jets.

As we get closer to modern day we get more towards consumer friendly shipping. Here in the United States, you can get your car shipped anywhere you would like depending on the company. We now have large trucks that can carry many cars at a time in an Open or Closed back. An Open back delivery ships many cars at a time and is much cheaper then closed but also has the wind hitting your car and it may cause problems if you have a relatively expensive car. Most people use Open Delivery because it can be up to seventy five percent cheaper then Closed Delivery. A Closed Delivery doesn’t ship many cars at once but is definitely recommended if you have an expensive car (around one hundred thousand dollars or more cars), as it will keep your car safe from the climate around it. Definitely recommended if you value your car as much as your own children like a lot of car enthusiasts do.  I’m making open delivery sound terrible but it’s actually very safe and it’s what most people pick when delivering their vehicles. Most companies have hired professionals that are experts in carrying all kinds of cars, all the way up too luxury vehicles. Though even with years passing Air and Sea Transport remains the most popular as most people buy cars from overseas. That’s just because American made cars form a statistical standpoint just fall short to their overseas counterparts, especially in the luxury car department as most luxury cars are made overseas as compared to the United States. Railway Transportation is still used but not as popular as a Carrier or Air and Sea transport. While Air Transport is popular for companies it’s for the most part not used by regular consumers because of just how expensive it is.

Submitted by Charles Boutwell

on 03/01/18

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