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Automotive vs. Automobile: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Updated on September 18, 2023
"Automotive" refers to anything related to motor vehicles, encompassing the industry, technology, and components, while "Automobile" specifically means a motor vehicle designed for road transport.

Key Differences

"Automotive" is an adjective or noun that broadly describes anything connected with motor vehicles, including the industry that produces them, the technology they incorporate, and the culture surrounding them. "Automobile," conversely, is a noun that specifies a type of motor vehicle designed for road use.
While "Automotive" might describe a sector, like the automotive industry, or a subject, like automotive engineering, "Automobile" refers strictly to the individual vehicles themselves. "Automotive" can be used to describe parts, services, or professions, while "Automobile" describes the end product of these.
The term "Automotive" can also be used more broadly to refer to anything that involves motion or pertains to self-propelling machines. In contrast, "Automobile" specifically targets motor vehicles used for transportation, usually with four wheels and powered by an internal combustion engine or electric motor.
In language, "Automotive" can be both an adjective and a noun, allowing it to serve in different roles within sentences. "Automobile," on the other hand, is solely a noun. It describes a specific object rather than an abstract concept or industry like "Automotive."

Comparison Chart

Part of Speech



Industry, technology, parts
Specific motor vehicle


Broad (industry, engineering)
Narrow (actual vehicle)

Grammatical Role

Can serve as adjective/noun
Only serves as a noun

General vs. Specific


Automotive and Automobile Definitions


Relating to self-propelled machines.
Automotive robots are becoming more advanced.


A car with an internal combustion engine.
His automobile runs on gasoline.


Of or relating to the business of selling motor vehicles.
The automotive market has seen ups and downs.


A vehicle primarily used for personal transportation.
The family packed their automobile for a road trip.


Pertaining to motor vehicles.
The automotive industry is booming.


A four-wheeled vehicle for carrying passengers.
The automobile accommodates five people.


Describing the technology of motor vehicles.
Automotive engineering is a complex field.


A machine that travels using wheels.
The automobile has made travel more convenient.


Referring to the culture surrounding cars.
He is passionate about automotive history.


A self-propelled passenger vehicle that usually has four wheels and an internal-combustion engine, used for land transport. Also called motorcar.


Moving by itself; self-propelling or self-propelled.


Of or relating to automobiles; automotive.


Of or relating to self-propelled vehicles.


A type of vehicle designed to move on the ground under its own stored power and intended to carry a driver, a small number of additional passengers, and a very limited amount of other load. A car or motorcar.


Having the ability to move by itself; self-propelled or self-propelling.


To travel by automobile.


Of, or relating to motor vehicles.


Self-moving; self-propelled.


A shop or company that sells motor vehicle parts


A self-propelled vehicle used for transporting passengers, suitable for use on a street or roadway. Many diferent models of automobiles have beenbuilt and sold commercially, possessing varied features such as a retractable roof (in a convertible), different braking systems, different propulsion systems, and varied styling. Most models have four wheels but some have been built with three wheels. Automobiles are usually propelled by internal combustion engines (using volatile inflammable liquids, as gasoline or petrol, alcohol, naphtha, etc.), and sometimes by steam engines, or electric motors. The power of the driving motor varies from under 50 H. P. for earlier models to over 200 H. P. larger models or high-performance sports or racing cars. An automobile is commonly called a car or an auto, and generally in British usage, motor cars.


Of or pertaining to the automobile.


To travel in an automobile.


Containing within itself the means of propulsion or movement.


4-wheeled motor vehicle; usually propelled by an internal combustion engine;
He needs a car to get to work


Of or relating to motor vehicles;
Automotive supplies


Travel in an automobile


Containing within itself the means of propulsion or movement;
A self-propelled vehicle


A motor vehicle designed for road use.
She bought a new automobile.


What does Automotive mean?

Automotive refers to anything related to motor vehicles, including the industry, technology, and components.

Can Automotive be a noun?

Yes, automotive can serve as both an adjective and a noun.

Does Automotive involve engineering?

Yes, automotive engineering is a subfield that focuses on vehicle design and systems.

What's the automotive industry?

The automotive industry involves the design, production, and sales of motor vehicles.

Is Automotive only about cars?

No, automotive covers all motor vehicles, including trucks and motorcycles.

Is an Automobile always a car?

Generally, yes, an automobile is a motor vehicle like a car designed for road use.

Is Automobile ever an adjective?

No, automobile is solely a noun.

What's an electric automobile?

An electric automobile is a car powered by an electric motor instead of an internal combustion engine.

What is automotive culture?

Automotive culture involves the social aspects and lifestyle surrounding motor vehicles.

What fuels do Automobiles use?

Automobiles can run on gasoline, diesel, electricity, or alternative fuels.

Can Automotive refer to parts?

Yes, automotive can describe vehicle parts like tires and engines.

What does Automobile mean?

Automobile specifically means a motor vehicle designed for road transport.

Can I rent an Automobile?

Yes, many companies offer automobile rentals for short periods.

Can Automobiles be self-driving?

Yes, some automobiles are designed to operate without human intervention.

Is Automotive a global industry?

Yes, the automotive industry is a global enterprise with manufacturers and markets worldwide.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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