The first limousines for cars originated in 1902, less than two decades after the invention of the first practical car. The first limousine for cars was invented soon after the first car was invented. The first automotive limousine was invented in 1902, less than twenty years after the first practical cars were manufactured. An alternative etymology speculates that some of the first drivers wore a limousine-style cape in the driver's open compartment, to protect themselves from inclement weather.
The first car limousine developed in 1902 was designed for the driver to sit outside, under a covered compartment. In German-speaking countries, a limousine is simply a sedan, while a car with an extended wheelbase is called a Pullman Limousine. The word limousine is the feminine adjective formed from the word Limoges, which is the province of France that started it all. Nowadays, limousines are still used to transport the rich and famous, but they are also designed to carry much larger numbers of people.
Because of the partition behind the driver, Hackney cars are a type of limousine, although they are not usually identified as such in Great Britain. Having these distinct compartments for drivers and passengers was important to the popularity of limousines. For about three decades, limousines lacked this technology, however, in 1939, the first air-conditioned limousine was built in New York City. In particular, airport shuttle services are often referred to as limousine services, although they often use minibuses.
The notable feature that differentiates limousines from other vehicles (or, in this case, from wagons) is that the driver is in a compartment completely separate from his fare. Since car drivers were initially looking for a similar type of Bonnet, the car became known as Limousine, which was later abbreviated as Limo. A luxury sedan with a very long wheelbase (with more than four doors) driven by a professional driver is called an elastic limousine. As such, the 1916 definition of a limousine by the Society of Automotive Engineers of the United States is an enclosed car that seats three or five people inside and the driver's seat outside.
In some countries, such as the United States, Germany, Canada and Australia, a limousine service can be any rental car with a pre-booked driver, usually, but not always, a luxury car. For many more years, several limousine models were there that did not have air conditioning systems.