“Ford Edsel” Brand Failure Case Study and Business Lessons

Shah Mohammed
28 min readApr 5, 2017

After spending 250 Million dollars in development over a 10 year period, backed by a solid market-research data and followed by a year-long teaser campaign, Ford launched “Edsel” brand car in September 1957, with an assured air of overconfidence in creating a revolution.


The company expected to sell at least 2,00,000 Edsels in the first year. Two years later, only one lakh ‘Edsels’ were sold. By November 1959, having lost around $350 million on the Edsel, the Ford company decided to discontinue its production. It was an unexpected spectacular flop and it had become a timeless case study for brand failures.

Failures may not show what could be the right way to do things, but it would indicate the pitfalls in a path, helping us to avoid re-inventing the wheel in certain scenarios.

‘Edsel’ brand failure has taught some valuable lessons not only to Ford but also to other brands. So, what are the positive and negative takeaways for us?