This is called a negative earth system, and when buying an electrical accessory a radio, for example check that it is of a type suitable for your car system. Fitting a radio with the incorrect polarity will damage the set, but most car radios have an external switch for setting the polarity to suit that of the car. Switch to the correct setting before fitting.
Apart from the main charging, starting and ignition circuits, there are other circuits that power lights, electric motors, the sensors and gauges of electrical instruments, heating elements, magnetically operated locks, the radio and so on. All Circuits are opened and closed either by switches or by relays - remote switches operated by electromagnets.