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Edsel: Anatomy of a disaster

Autocar Logo By Richard Bremner of Autocar | Slide 1 of 35: Over 60 years ago, Ford spent $250 million - perhaps $2.5 billion in today’s money - on the launch of a new brand whose chief impact was to become known as one of the worst product launches of all time. The tale behind it became a case study for the corporate world and the name became a synonym for failure.This is the story of how it was born, how it died on November 19th 1959, and how its failure ironically laid the foundation stone for one of Ford’s most remarkable successes…

For embarrassing, grand-scale corporate catastrophes there was once only one word: Edsel.

Over 60 years ago, Ford spent $250 million - perhaps $2.5 billion in today’s money - on the launch of a new brand whose chief impact was to become known as one of the worst product launches of all time. The tale behind it became a case study for the corporate world and the name became a synonym for failure.

This is the story of how it was born, how it died on November 19th 1959, and how its failure ironically laid the foundation stone for one of Ford’s most remarkable successes…

© Ford Motor Company

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