Edsel Failures

CONTENT PAGE

Title Page

1. Executive Summary ??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦ 3

2. Introduction ??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦ 4

3. Edsel and its Failures ??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦..??¦??¦??¦.. 4
??? Marketing??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦.. 5
??? Pricing ??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦. 5
??? Design ??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦. 5
??? Mechanical ??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦.??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦. 6
4. Lesson from Edsel ??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦.7

5. References ??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦..8

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Almost all new products fail in the Global market. In an effort to discover why many great theories, inventions, and innovations fail to come to fruition, the Ford Edsel research will show some reasons for these failures. Were the Ford Edsel theories, inventions, or innovations poorly calculated, or is there a psychological reason behind the failures Many substantial reasons can be cited for the failure of the Ford Edsel. A few examples are: the design, marketing, the mechanical woes and price hike.

This assignment helps us to investigate as well if there was a breakdown in the resources needed to complete this project Even though substantial failures can be blamed for such failures, it is usually the company involved that is to blame for the failed adventures of a particular development. The primary goal of this assignment is to learn from product failures so that future product development, design, strategy and implementation will be more successful. The benefits of studying Ford Edsel failures is gaining a better understanding of product failures are important to help prevent future failures. Studying the history of product failures may generate some insight into the reason for those failures and create a list of factors that may increase the opportunity for success. Studying product failures allows ABC designs in the planning and implementation process to learn from the mistakes of Ford Edsel and brand failures. Each product failure can be investigated from the perspective of what, if anything might have been done differently to produce and market successful product rather than one that failed. The ability to identify key signs in the product development process can be critical. If the product should make it this far, assessing risk before the product is marketed can save an organization??™s budget, and avoid the intangible costs of exposing their failure to the market.

1. Introduction
On September 4, 1957 the Edsel made its debut in showrooms across the country. The launch came on the heels of an extensive, expensive and exceptionally successful marketing campaign that had everybody talking about this puzzling new car. Months earlier ads began running that simply pictured the hood ornament, underscored with (The Edsel is coming). Another ad revealed a covered car carrier with the same tag line. Meanwhile, the company went to great lengths to keep the car??™s features and appearance a secret. Dealers were required to store the vehicles undercover, and could be fined or lose their franchise if they showed the cars before the release date. With all the hype it??™s no surprise that consumers were eager to see what the fuss was about. When September 4th rolled around consumers flocked to the dealerships in record numbers. Edsel executives were thrilled until they realized that people weren??™t buying, they were only coming to look. The company expected to sell a daily minimum of 400 Edsel through 1,200 dealers. They never made. The public thought there was something radically new coming out, but it was really just another 1958(model) car. It had more gadgets on it but it wasn??™t anything that lived up to the hype. It was realised that Edsel executives didn??™t take the most sensible approach to marketing the car. A company should never allow its spokespersons to build up enthusiasm for an unseen and unproven product.

2. Edsel and its Failures
One thing though was completely beyond Ford??™s control. After an explosion period for the US car industry during the 1950s, the end of 1957 saw the start of a recession. In 1958 almost all car models saw a drop in sales, some by as much as 50 per cent. Ironically, one of the very few models to witness an increase in sales that year was the Ford Thunderbird. Ford Edsel had failures to its product even though it is understood that marketing was the major downfall during the project design of the car other factor still led to its downfall some of these failures include the name, design, marketing, price and mechanical woes.
Ford??™s decision to highlight the Edsel??™s powerful engine during a period when the buying public was gravitating toward smaller, more fuel-efficient cars alienated potential customers. The first models in the showroom were the most expensive, top of the line models, resulting in what we refer to today as sticker shock. Unfortunately, too, while some Edsel models were more expensive than comparable cars, they had an equivalent or greater number of quality problems. Sometimes parts did not fit properly or were simply missing, since Ford frequently built Edsel??™s between Fords and Mercury on the same assembly line. Many dealers were ill equipped to replace these parts or add accessories.
? Pricing: The car ended up looking more expensive than it actually was because of poor timing. The situation was even worse than that. In addition to the car not living up to the marketing hype, the United States was in a recession and Edsel offered it??™s most expensive models first while other car makers were discounting last year??™s models which had a severe impact on car sales. Not only had Edsel decided to push its most expensive models first, but the 1957 models it was competing with were being offered at a discounted price in order to sell them before next year??™s models were wheeled into the showroom. A high price at this point would have made a reasonable sense if it had been worth paying. However, the experience of those few early Edsel customers quickly gave the car a reputation for mechanical problems. Edsel now popularly stood for Every Day Something Else Leaks.
? Mechanical: Car buyers didn??™t purchase the Edsel because it was a bad car, it was just that it didn??™t live up to the expectations that the company created in the prior months. The Edsel actually had some great innovations for its time such as a “rolling dome” speedometer and its Tele touch transmission shifting system in the centre of the steering wheel. Other design innovations included ergonomically designed controls for the driver and self-adjusting brakes. In addition to the car not living up to the marketing hype, the United States was in a recession and Edsel offered it??™s most expensive models first while other car makers were discounting last year??™s models. And for those who did buy an Edsel found that the car was plagued with shoddy workmanship. Many of the vehicles that showed up at the dealer showroom had notes attached to the steering wheel listing the parts not installed.
? Design: Engineers, fearing engine cooling problems, prohibited the intended design; some have speculated that the cars failure was because the grille resembled a lemon also the styling of the Edsel is surely the most remembered aspect of the car. This, too, had a depressing effect on sales. The vertical grille theme, while improved for the 1959 models, was discontinued for the 1960 models, which were similar to Ford models of the same year, although coincidentally, the new front end design bore no small resemblance to that of the 1959Pontiac.The Tele touch pushbutton automatic transmission selector proved problematic, in part because the steering wheel hub, where the push buttons were located, was the tradition allocation of the horn button. Drivers often ended up shifting gears instead of honking the horn. While the Edsel was fast, the location of the transmission pushbuttons was not conducive to street racing.

Even though Ford launched the Edsel as a brand new division, but they didn??™t give the car line its own manufacturing facility. Edsel relied on Ford to produce their cars and Ford workers resented assembling another vehicle and took little pride in their work. Not having a dedicated work force to build their cars. The Edsel??™s quality control issues were compounded by Ford??™s mechanics and their unfamiliarity with the car??™s state of the art technology. The biggest problem was its automatic Tele-touch transmission, whereby the driver selected the gears by pushing buttons on the centre of the steering wheel. It was a complicated system that the mechanics didn??™t know how to fix it. With Ford wanting Edsel to be a separate division, they made sure there was nothing that tied this car line to Ford. The word Ford couldn??™t be found anywhere on the car. Without an established customer base, like Ford, it??™s no surprise Edsel sold only 64,000 units in its first year.

3. Lessons from Edsel
??? Hyping an untested product is a mistake. ???I learned that a company should never allow its spokespersons to build up enthusiasm for an unseen, unproven product,??™ confessed C Gayle Warnock, the PR director responsible for the publicity surrounding the Edsel launch.
??? Your name matters. At the most basic level, your brand is your name. It doesn??™t matter how important the brand name is to the company, it??™s what it means to the public that counts. If the name conjures up images of weasels and pretzels it might be a good time to scrap it.
??? Looks count. Visual appearance is a key factor in creating a brand identity for most products. It was the distinctive shape of Coca-Cola bottles which helped that brand become so big. In the car industry, looks are particularly important and as Edsel proved, ugly ducklings don??™t always become swans.
??? Price is important. Products can be too expensive or too cheap. When some brands price themselves too low, they lose their prestige. However, with a car such as the Edsel, the high price couldn??™t be justified in the minds of the public.
??? The right research is important. Ford spent time and money carrying out the wrong kind of market research. Instead of hunting for names, the company should have been concentrating on whether there was a market for its new car in the first place. As it turned out, the market it spent millions trying to reach didn??™t even exist. Classic failures 25
??? Quality is important. Of course, product quality is always important but when it comes to cars it is a matter of life and death. Bad quality control proved an extra nail in Edsel??™s coffin.

One thing that comes to our mind about what might have been the proverbial straw that broke the camel??™s back is the car??™s name. Frankly we love the look of the Edsel and feel that in a different economy, with a good support system, and an honest marketing plan, the Edsel would still be with us today rather than only lasting three years in production. So while the whole Edsel episode may have been a costly embarrassment for Ford in the short term, it helped the company learn some valuable lessons which it has carried with it to this day.
6. References
??? Failure Magazine Edsel Coverage. 2011. Failure Magazine Edsel Coverage. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.edsel.com/reviews/failure.htm. [Accessed 03 April 2011].

??? The Edsel ??“ A Legacy of Failure. 2011. The Edsel ??“ A Legacy of Failure. [ONLINE] Available at: http://classiccars.about.com/od/classiccarsaz/a/Edsel.htm. [Accessed 03 April 2011].

??? Fords Edsel Car -The Big Fin Failure of the 50s: Its Horsecollar Grill Inspired Jokes About An Olds Sucking a Lemon. 2011. Fords Edsel Car -The Big Fin Failure of the 50s: Its Horsecollar Grill Inspired Jokes About An Olds Sucking a Lemon. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.suite101.com/content/edsel-fords-fabulous-57-failure-a30989. [Accessed 03 April 2011].

??? The Edsel – History – Failure magazine |. 2011. The Edsel – History – Failure magazine |. [ONLINE] Available at:http://failuremag.com/index.php/feature/article/edsel_an_auto_biography/. [Accessed 03 April 2011].

??? Edsel: The Big Failure. 2011. Edsel: The Big Failure. [ONLINE] Available at:http://hubpages.com/hub/Edsel-The-Big-Failure. [Accessed 03 April 2011].