Nearly 60 years ago, Ford unveiled what they described as the car of the future. The Edsel, named after Henry Ford’s late son, was the Ford Company’s attempt to expand market share.
For the 1958 model year, Ford produced four submodels of Edsel: The larger Mercury-based Citation and Corsair, and the smaller Ford-based Pacer and Ranger.
Each of the submodels of Edsel offered several innovative features. These include a rolling-dome speedometer; warning lights for such conditions as low oil level, parking brake engaged, and engine overheating; push-button Teletouch transmission shifting system in the center of the steering wheel; self-adjusting brakes; seat belts; and child-proof rear door locks that could only be opened with the key.
It came with a year-long marketing blitz including TV commercials, print ads, and an all-star television special starring Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Louis Armstrong.
However, the Edsel flopped, and became a popular symbol for commercial failure. Critics disliked the unique front grill, price, and “space-age features.” Another problem that surfaced and effected the popularity of the car was reports of mechanical flaws with the cars, due primarily to lack of quality control and confusion of parts with other Ford models.
Ford never dedicated a stand-alone factory solely to Edsel model production. The first-year (1958) Edsels were assembled in both Mercury and Ford factories.
Production was shut down after just two years, losing nearly $350 million in the process, the equivalent of $2,800,000,000 in current currency.
Do you think bringing the Edsel back into production would be a good move for the Ford Company? Do you think it would make a killing in today’s market? Use the comments section below and share your thoughts. We’d love to hear from you!
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