Although the blueprint for the modern automobile was perfected in Germany and France in the late 1800s, Americans dominated the industry in the first half of the twentieth century. Besides large growth of car production in Asian and other countries, there has been growth in transnational corporate groups , the production of transnational automobiles sharing the same platforms , as well as badge engineering or re-badging to suit different markets and consumer segments.
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Major breakthroughs in proving the usefulness of the automobile came with the historic long-distance drive of Bertha Benz in 1888, when she traveled more than 80 kilometres (50 mi) from Mannheim to Pforzheim , to make people aware of the potential of the vehicles her husband, Karl Benz, manufactured, and after Horatio Nelson Jackson ‘s successful transcontinental drive across the United States in 1903.
Bicycle mechanics J. Frank and Charles E. Duryea of Springfield, Massachusetts , had designed the first successful American gasoline automobile in 1893, then won the first American automobile race in 1895, and went on to make the first sale of an American-made gasoline car the next year.
The Autocar Company , founded in 1897, established a number of innovations still in use 22 and remains the oldest operating motor vehicle manufacturer in the United States However, it was Ransom E. Olds and his Olds Motor Vehicle Company (later known as Oldsmobile ) who would dominate this era of automobile production.