Edsel is a no go
Back in 1956, Ford Motor Company realized that there was a gaping hole in their range of mediun sized cars.
This meant that Ford was losing customers to other manufacturers when the time came to move up market, the very ones that they could ill affort to lose.
Their solution to this problem, was to put into action plans for an entirely new car division, and an entirely new car. A car called after the origional Henry Ford’s son, Edsel
The design of the car was to be completely unique - distinguishable from any angle. And the promotional build-up of the car would be like nothing else.
After a massive promotional campaign, which included multi-page "teaser" ads in major national magazines, some 2.5 million Americans poured into Edsel dealerships on "E-Day", September 4, 1957.
But it was quickly apparent that few cars were actually being sold. The public expectation was much higher than the car could live up to, and sales reflected the disappointment. This expectation led to forcasts sales of around 200,000 whereas in reality the sales for the first year were only 68,045.
A redesigned car was then released for the 1959 model with significant changes were made to the new models to increase sales numbers.
The new models looked less different to other makes.
The large number of different models was reduced, Pacer and Citation were discontinued.
Smaller engines were offered. For the first time a six cylinder engine was available as a delete option, reducing the price by 50$, a workers weekly income.
Production was concentrated to a single plant.
The Teletouch transmission (shifting was done by push buttons in the steering wheel and an electric motor at the transmission housing), a gimmick customers loved, was no longer available because of technical problems.
All this didn't help, Edsel's market share had shrunk to 47,396 sales for the year.
It had all gone pear shaped for the Edsel, by the time some 1960 Models were coming off the production line Ford had already decided to scrap the line and concentrate on the smaller cars which were becoming more popular.
It announced this decision to the public on November the 19th 1959.
Today less than 6000 Edsels survive, and each one is a cherished classic. The 1958 Edsel advertising said it best
"Once you've seen it, you'll never forget it. Once you've owned it, you'll never want to change."