The Future Arrives In Small Doses
Please enjoy the thoughts and musings of our friend, supporter, and long-time contributor Art van Bodegraven Jr., who passed away on June 18, 2017. Art was a prolific writer and had amassed a collection of unpublished blog posts he had planned to run well into the future. To honor his memory, we will continue to post these remaining blogs as he had intended. If you’ve been a fan of The Art of Art blog, check out our tribute.
A company can build the best car in the world, but if buyers don't get it, or want it, it's Edsel time - game over before the opening whistle. Chrysler discovered what it means, or costs, when a car maker doesn't read the market.
in 1934, when I was still in short pants, the Chrysler/DeSoto twins were today's just plain old-fashioned. In the day, they were ground-breakingly avant garde. The concept, born of birds in flight, of reducing wind flow. The goal? A car that would go faster, look smashing, and use less fuel than gas guzzlers of the Golden Age.
The result? A car that would go faster in reverse than in forward, which led to a much more "slippery" design. Other improvements included more balanced weight distribution and body-on-frame construction.
Six years of development, a failed, if expected, surge in sales, and lukewarm trade press reviews, and brand sales plummeted by 40%, as a four-year production run ground to a halt.
Later, the DeSoto sturdiness and quickness captured public attention, but we'd not see a failure on this scale until the scares-children-at-night Edsel.
The future would just have to wait a bit. Like 25 years.