1. Ford Edsel
The Edsel story is one of the biggest commercial failures in the car business, even by today’s standards. In the late ’50s, Ford launched the Edsel. It was an upscale brand based on Ford and Mercury models to compete with Oldsmobile and Buick. Ford invested over $400 million in design, development, and marketing. But most of that money went to promote the Edsel and create unequaled hype among the car-buying public (via Money Inc.). When Ford officially presented the car, people were puzzled. The design was strange. The front end reminded folks of a public urinal.
This event caused outrage among the conservative members of 1950s society. The Edsel cost a bit more than most Fords, but it still was affordable despite its powerful engine and upscale features. After the good sales in the first few months, buyers’ interest subsided and Ford struggled to sell more cars. In 1960, after just two years on the market, they killed the Edsel. Ford’s massive investment turned into an enormous loss. So, what was the problem with the Edsel? Quite simply, it was the hype. Ford invested a lot of money to present the image of the Edsel as a fantastic new car with unrivaled features and power. People expected something exceptional but only got an upscale Ford with a funny design.