The Edsel: Michigan’s Biggest Boo-Boo?
Why did the Edsel fail?
The car itself wasn't so bad - it was basically an ordinary car that had an advertising blitz that shoved it down the public's throat.
In 1955, Ford took a survey/poll of car buyers to find out what they wanted in a car. Unfortunately, the company didn't pay much attention to what the public desired. They went ahead and designed the car their own way.
For a whole year, pre-release ads blared that September 4, 1957 was to be “E-Day” when 18 versions of the Edsel would be unleashed to an onslaught of consumers, ready to buy.
Advertising for the Edsel couldn't be escaped. The ads boasted so loud and so much about this automobile, that consumers started to feel it would be a marvel of car-making science - “the car of the future” so to speak.
The Edsel was soon known to be a gas guzzler and too high-priced for what it was able to deliver. Plus, most people though it was ugly. What was with that front grill? There were some automotive critics that noted the similarities between the Edsel grill and a female private part. Was that an intentional, inside joke with the Ford Company? It's possible, but nobody knows for sure. They figured a vertical grill would be a cute gimmick, but to effectively cool the engine, it had to be huge. Therefore, it ended up being more garish than ornamental.
For a couple of years, the Edsel took consistent pounding from the news media, stand-up comedians, and other auto dealers until Ford Prez Bob McNamara said “enough” and talked the company to scrap the car for good.
Now, these original cars are collector's items, some fetching over $100,000.