Ford’s “Edsel” automobile marque is practically synonymous with failure. It was the brainchild of some of the greatest talent at Ford Motor Company in the 1950s, intended to market expensive, flagship models developed based on careful motivational research – a subclass of market research. Instead, it floundered in showrooms, prompting Ford to abandon the brand after just three model years.
What happened? How is it that Ford could apply so much talent and effort into a product line that would, ultimately, cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars and come to represent the pitfalls of automaker hubris?
Regular Car Reviews attempts to answer these questions in a recent piece about the history of Ford’s Edsel make.
For one thing, “Edsel” was never supposed to be the name for the new car. After eliciting countless suggestions for names from Ford’s own ranks, weighing recommendations from advertising firm Foote, Cone & Belding, and even reaching out Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Marianne Moore for ideas, not one name stood out as a clear frontrunner. By the end, it almost seemed as though Ford had no choice but to begrudgingly commit to the name “Edsel” – an early suggestion that was originally passed over because, well, it’s not terrific.
Be sure to brush up on your knowledge of the sad, shameful history of Ford’s Edsel marque by watching the full video above. It’s long, but it’s worth it for the laughs.