Classification of Automobiles

An automobile is a vehicle that is capable of propelling itself. Since the 17th century, several attempts have been made to design and construct a practically operative automobile.

Today, automobiles play a crucial role in the social, economic and industrial growth of any country.
After the designing of Internal Combustion Engines, the Automobile industries has seen a tremendous growth.

Automobile - Lamborghini car

Classification of Automobiles:

Automobiles can be classified into several types based on many criteria. A brief classification of automobiles is listed below:

1. Based on Purpose :

  • Passenger vehicles: These vehicles carry passengers. e.g: Buses, Cars, passenger trains.
  • Goods vehicles: These vehicles carry goods from one place to another place. e.g: Goods lorry, Goods carrier.
  • Special Purpose: These vehicles include Ambulance, Fire engines, Army Vehicles.

2. Based on Load Capacity:

  • Light duty vehicle: Small motor vehicles. eg: Car, jeep, Scooter, motorcycle
  • Heavy duty vehicle:  large and bulky motor vehicles. e.g: Bus, Truck, Tractor

3. Based on fuel used:

  • Petrol engine vehicles : Automobiles powered by a petrol engine. e.g: scooters, cars, motorcycles.
  • Diesel engine vehicles : Automobiles powered by diesel engine. e.g: Trucks, Buses, Tractors.
  • Gas vehicles : Vehicles that use gas turbine as a power source. e.g: Turbine powered cars.
  • Electric vehicles : Automobiles that use electricity as a power source. e.g: Electric cars, electric buses.
  • Steam Engine vehicles : Automobiles powered by steam engine. e.g: Steamboat, steam locomotive, steam wagon.

4. Based on Drive of the vehicles:

  • Left-Hand drive : Steering wheel fitted on the left-hand side.
  • Right-Hand drive : Steering wheel fitted on the right-hand side.
  • Fluid drive : Vehicles employing torque converter, fluid flywheel or hydramatic transmission.

5. Based on number of wheels and axles:

  • Two wheeler : motorcycles, scooters
  • Three-wheelers : Tempo, auto-rickshaws
  • Four wheeler : car, Jeep, Bus, truck
  • Six-wheelers : Buses and trucks have six tires out of which four are carried on the rear wheels for additional reaction.
  • Six axle wheeler : Dodge(10 tire) vehicle

6. Based on type of Transmission:

  • Automatic transmission vehicles: Automobiles that are capable of changing gear ratios automatically as they move. e.g: Automatic Transmission Cars.
  • Manual transmission vehicles: Automobiles whose gear ratios have to be changed manually.
  • Semi-automatic transmission vehicles: Vehicles that facilitate manual gear changing with a clutch pedal.

7. Based on Suspension system used:

  • Convectional – Leaf Spring
  • Independent – Coil spring, Torsion bar, Pneumatic.
Spread the Knowledge

Vinodh Reddy is a Mechanical Engineer and Editor-in-chief of ME Mechanical. He holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) degree in Mechanical Engineering. He also blogs at EduGeneral. He is interested in the farming field.

All Comments

  • very good

    awinash Jan 7, 2016 11:05 pm Reply
  • addition, another you can classifying vehicle is based on position of engine
    1)Front engine
    2)Rear engine

    NKOMA, Michael John May 21, 2016 5:48 pm Reply
  • Hi frnd it’s super

    Lenin Jan 2, 2017 10:18 pm Reply
  • To,
    Editor in Chief,
    ME Mechanical,

    I am Dr. Hemanth R working as Associate Professor in NIE Institute of Technology, Mysore, India. Our research group has submitted an research article titled “Engineering Polymers: Reinforcing Materials for Automobile Components” accepted for publication in Encyclopedia Program, published by Taylor and Francis. We have used classification of automobiles data and few figures of automobiles from your website and the same has been duly acknowledged in the reference section of the article. For further processing we want to obtain the permission from the source before publishing. Hence we request your consent for publication. An permission verification form must be signed by you and will be submitted to the publisher. Hence, request to reply at the earliest.

    With regards
    Dr. Hemanth R
    Associate Professor
    Dept. of Mech. Engg.
    NIEIT, Mysore, India

    Dr. Hemanth R Dec 23, 2017 4:59 pm Reply
    • Hello sir, You can mail me at, if still permission is required.

      Vinodh Reddy Chennu May 29, 2018 7:42 pm Reply

    SIRAJ Jan 17, 2018 3:13 pm Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.