Edsel was a combination of mistakes...maybe we discussed this in a past thread? Briefly, other than styling, and I'll comment on that later, was the economic climate of the time and the fact that FoMoCo was actually introducing a new car that would compete more with itself than GM
, Chrysler. The term recession is bantered freely, but the Edsel was introduced in a true recession; bad timing to launch a new high-dollar product. People often forget that Chrysler's DeSoto and the Packard disappeared in the Edsel cancellation (1960) time-frame. Furthermore, because of the economic climate, FoMoCo strapped themselves heavily cash-wise to finance new dealers, distribution networks, etc., and their coffers were greatly handicapped by the venture. The buying public, in general, was not willing to go to the bank for a new car, let alone an all-new car, and that was a built-in handicap for sales. As far as the model lineup structure went for Division, there was Ranger, Pacer, and Citation, all priced just a few dollars more than equivallent Ford Division offerings, other than a high-end, loaded Citation that came close to Mercury. Chrysler's cars as well as GM
's Chevrolet through high-end Oldsmobile models were close, but, remember, it would take a lot to get a GM
buyer out of their showrooms and Plymouth, Dodge and the soon-to-be-dropped DeSoto were suffering from (justifiably) bad quality raps. Even with aggresive styling for the time, Chysler was sucking hind tit.
Now, the styling thing, and this, of course is personal with every individual issue, the mainstream buyer was taken aback with the grille motif. I thought it was kinda cool (and LOVE it today), but mom'n'pop werent so sure. The press had a field day, too..."Oldsmobile sucking a lemon", "Horse collar grille",etc. My own family frowned. The 1959 model toned-down the apppearance dramitically, and by 1960 the car was little more than a Ford with vestigal tweaks (the 1960 Ford, BTW, was the most "perfectly" styled entry-level cars of all times; why sales weren't so good is a result of not only the recession, but people's perceptions (another thread). I have the HONOR of having as my boss at Ford Styling, Mr. Roy Brown, chief designer of the Edsel, and most quoted (in an interview on an international flight, I belive)... "Mr. Brown, you have often said that you always are thinking of a woman when you are styling a car. What part of a woman's bodey were you thinking of when you designed the Edsel grille?" ...Jack