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Automotive Industry: A Research Guide

Industry Associations

Automotive Trade Association parade, Wash. D.C. June 28, 1919. National Photo Company Collection. Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division.

Early automotive associations provided drivers with legal and mechanical information for traveling safely. They lobbied for better roads, at times teaming up with bicyclists, and demanded uniform road laws across the country. At the same time, automobile clubs sponsored races to test vehicle handling and speed. Antique car clubs started in the 1930s, with interests in preservation, registration, or social clubs. Some clubs are niche and focus on a particular type of vehicle or inventor.1

While social clubs and antique car clubs still exist, many current associations are focused on the business interests of national and international automotive industries, ranging from manufacturers to dealers to parts suppliers. Recent automotive trade shows are shifting towards mobility of all types, instead of just gasoline-powered vehicles,2 and industry associations are involved in supply chain concerns, fuel efficiency, technological innovations, and automotive care.

In this section, you'll find a comprehensive list of associations and organizations associated with the automobile industry.

The following links are to information from current automobile association websites.


  1. Grace R. Brigham, "Those Elusive Vehicles, Chapter 4: Associations and Clubs," Automotive History Review, Fall 1998 (33), 30-36. Back to text
  2. Jack Ewing, "What Car Shows May Look Like, if Car Shows Have a Future," New York Times, Sept 10, 2021. Back to text