Japanese Cars – 1980s
Up until the end of the 1970s, European and American companies dominated the European car industry. It was not until the 1980s that Japanese manufacturers such as Nissan, Honda, Mazda, and Toyota started to undercut their Western counterparts by exporting their own cheaply made cars. By the end of the 1980s the Japanese car industry overtook the U.S. as the production leader with up to 13 million cars per year manufactured.
Car Safety – 1990s
Car technology had grown by leaps and bounds by the start of the 1990s, paving the way for major design developments. These advancements were primarily focused on in-car computers and safety, such ABS (Automatic Braking Systems), and airbags being fitted as standard. The use of computers went further still, with air conditioning, automatic windows and sunroofs being fitted in both luxury and small cars.
Eco Cars – 2000s
The technology may have been around for decades, but it was the 2000s that finally saw Hybrid and Electric car technology finally becoming a realistic replacement for fossil fuel cars. For many, the turning point was the Toyota Prius. Initially released in Japan in 1997, the Prius was the world’s first mass-produced hybrid electric vehicle that would be released worldwide in 2000.
The British Car Industry – 2010s
The British car industry was once the world’s second biggest car manufacturer, employing over a million people. Today, Britain’s big car plants are Japanese-run, and once-major British brands—Jaguar, Rolls Royce, Bentley, and Aston Martin are foreign-owned.
The future of cars – 2020s onwards
What about the future of the car? Google is currently developing self-driving cars. On-board sensors that can detect objects as far as two football fields away in all directions will enable modern car to safely navigate the road, reducing the need for human drivers… and human error.
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Benz Concept Motor Car Image By AlfvanBeem (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons.
Fords Russell Motor Car Advert Image By Ford/ Russell Motor Car Company, New Orleans [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
1920 Cadillac V8 Model 59 Image By New York Public Library (Flickr: 1920 Cadillac V8 Model 59.) [No restrictions], via Wikimedia Commons.
1949 Willys-Overland Jeep CJ-3A Image By myself (User:Piotrus) (Self-photographed) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.
Austin Seven (Mini) & Triumph Herald Image By Karen Roe from Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, UK [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.