FORD – 1958 EDSEL RANGER – Introduction of the Edsel
Umm the announcer says it has a conservative design that will give it maximum appeal. We aren’t so sure! The Edsel never caught on with the public. Edsel is most notorious for being a marketing disaster. Indeed, the name “Edsel” became synonymous with the “real-life” commercial failure of the predicted “perfect” product or product idea. Similar ill-fated products have often been colloquially referred to as “Edsels”. The car was marketed as the new Ford’s mid-sized car answer to GM.
The Ford Edsel was a gas guzzler, incredibly ugly, and over priced according to Time Magazine’s article on “50 of the Worst Cars Ever Made”.
Ford announced the end of the Edsel program on Thursday, November 19, 1959. However, production continued until late in November, with the final tally of 2,846 1960 models. Total Edsel sales were approximately 116,000, less than half the company’s projected break-even point. The company lost $350 million, or the equivalent of $2,831,563,927 in 2014 dollars, on the venture. Only 118,287 Edsels were built, including 7,440 produced in Ontario, Canada. By U.S. auto industry standards, these production figures were dismal, particularly when spread across a run of three model years.
Historians have advanced several theories in an effort to explain the Edsel’s failure. Popular culture often faults the car’s styling. Consumer Reports has alleged that poor workmanship was the Edsel’s chief problem. Marketing experts hold the Edsel up as a supreme example of the corporate culture’s failure to understand American consumers.
However, more than half a century after its spectacular failure, the Edsel has become a highly collectible item among vintage car hobbyists. Fewer than 10,000 Edsels survive and they are considered valuable collectors’ items. A mint-condition Edsel convertible from any of its three model years may sell for over $100,000.
1958 “live” commercial about the Edsel
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