For many people, a car is simply a tool that gets them from point A to point B as safely as possible and in as little time as possible (and is legal). They do not consider their vehicle to be any different from the iron they use to press their clothes or the hair dryer in their bathroom.
For others, however, the automotive industry and the companies that have made their mark on it are something special. They are actual world-changers that have made our lives what they are today and that are showing no signs of slowing down.
Today, we will be looking at those companies whose practices and products have made our world what it is today.
Honestly, there was no way to start our list with any company other than Mercedes-Benz. The reason is a simple one – they were responsible for the first automobile to drive on the streets (of Mannheim, Germany). There are other inventions that claim to be the first car, but the fact is that the Benz Patent-Motorwagen was the first vehicle designed to use an internal combustion engine.
Over the years, Mercedes-Benz shaped much of the car as we knew and know it today, coming out with inventions such as honeycomb radiator, carburetor, diesel-powered car, crumple zone, ABS system, ESP brake assist and more.
In other words, we would probably still have cars today, but it’s a mystery what they would look like if not for Mercedes-Benz.
Ford has definitely been one of the more impactful automotive companies in the history, although they have mostly done paradigm-shifting things for the society as a whole than strictly speaking car-related (Ford is responsible for quite a few auto innovations, nonetheless).
Namely, Henry Ford’s moving assembly line has changed the face of the planet through its innovations in the production process. The effects of his moving assembly line go well beyond just the automotive industry, influencing the 20th century as much as any other invention. Thanks to this more efficient production process, Ford brought the car to the masses with Model T.
The Ford company even helped Soviet Union start on its path towards industrialization with the joint Soviet-Ford endeavor that would become USSR’s first automotive factory called GAZ in today’s Nizhny Novgorod.
Since this is Car Audio Plus’ blog, we simply have to include one of the most impactful car electronics and audio companies in history – Alpine. Alpine is a Japanese company that has been transforming the way our cards sound on the inside for decades and even though many people do not think twice about it, it has truly changed our daily car trips for good.
Over the years, besides manufacturing some of the finest products in its niche, Alpine has also come out with a number of firsts. For example, they gave us the world’s first navigation system in 1981 when they built one for Honda. They also introduced us to the first ever remove control auto security systems in 1983. In 2004, they were the first to recognize iPod as the future of music consumption and they were the first to manufacture components that can interact with the Apple’s product.
Castrol is the world’s leading engine oil manufacturer and it has been one for more than a century. Initially, the company manufactured oils for heavy machinery and trains, but the founder soon realized that the future lies in cars and airplanes.
Over the years, they kept their head down and provided the automotive industry with the oils their cars needed to run without breaking down. Castrol also stayed involved in other industries, providing oil for Queen Elizabeth II, the world’s largest ocean-going passenger liner which was launched in the late 1960s.
The reason we include Castrol in this article is the quiet innovativeness that they bring to the work they do and also because they created a special oil for Curiosity, NASA’s Mars rover.
And that is just so cool.
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