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Ford Motor Company introduced its new Edsel Division in the fall 0f 1957 with great fanfare, and the expectation of selling over 200,000 vehicles during its first model year. The buyers never materialized, and Edsel ended 1958 with a production run of only 63,000 cars.
"Edsel", the car that had been named in honor of Henry Ford's late son, was soon equated in popular culture with "failure".
The Edsel automobile was the result of a marketing exercise by the Ford Motor Company to fill the price gap between the Ford and Mercury lines. A seperate Edsel division was established although much of the original planning was done by Fordīs Special Products Division.
The Edsel was designed by Roy A. Brown and the style conformed with the automobile fashion of the day with a long, wide, low body that was lavishly decorated with chrome and liberally supplied with gadgets. When they were introduced in September, 1957, the Edsels were available in the Ranger-Pacer series and the more expensive Corsair-Citation series.
There was a wide selection of interior and exterior colors and two V-8 engine options were available. The most distinctive feature of the Edsel was its vertical "horsecollar" grille, which became the source of a great many jokes. Many believe the Edsel failed because of the odd grille. However, there were many reasons, including customer over-anticipation created by Fordīs promotion and advertising program, and many problems in the first production cars.
Sales were disappointing and Edsel production ceased on November 19, 1959. A total of 102,737 Edsels were sold.