We all know the great graphics and old advertising ads with Fords Edsel model. In particular the characteristic radiator grille is something to remember. Unfortunately it was also an important reason for the model’s resounding failure.
In 1958 Ford enabled $ 400 million in development costs, which equates to $ 3 billion in 2014 money – just about. The reason was the huge development that lay behind the Edsel model, which appeared in 1958. Amid the explosive growth of the world economy and the need for new cars from the rapidly growing middle class, Ford had huge hopes for the new Edsel. The marketing department had gone to great lengths to find just the right shape in the press material, speaking to buyers’ newfound need for status, elegance and technology.
Unfortunately for Ford the effort was by no means a success. Someone had misunderstood something. Sales were disappointing as early as 1958. Following year, an attempt was made with massive campaigns, but not this helped. 1960 identified a sale at a mere 2,846 copies, and Ford pulled the plug on the Edsel model after careful consideration. The company was left with one huge failure and a bombed-budget.
Ford Chairman Ernie Breech said: “At one point someone had the idea of calling the front grille of a toilet seat, and from that minute the car was dead.” If a car not already has affected the trend quite right, this kind of publicity of course not helps, but it’s certainly not the whole story of Edsels failure. Fortunately for Ford they at the time already embarked on the development of a new car that was to come four years later. It was by no means any failure – in fact on the contrary.