Notorious business failures

When you think of business failures, the first things that come to mind are probably recent failures – things like the dotcom bubble or the bank bailout. Of course, throughout history, some businesses have always failed. Wondering where they went wrong? Here’s a countdown of 5 of the most notorious business failures.

1. White Star Lines. White Star Lines was the company behind RMS Titanic. Not surprisingly, being responsible for the most famous luxury liner disaster – and possibly the most famous maritime disaster – of all time is a PR nightmare. After the notoriety of Titanic came the travesty of World War and then the company was bought out by a shipping company.

2. Commodore. Although the famous Commodore C-64 was a whopping success, the company messed up big time by creating a non-compatible successor to the C-64 – and then announcing plans to discontinue the beloved original. As a result the business folded shortly thereafter.

3. DeLorean. Despite the fame of the car from its role in Back to the Future, the company ultimately failed largely because of its founder and namesake’s personal problems. Although he was later acquitted on grounds of entrapment, John DeLorean’s 1983 cocaine bust destroyed his credibility with investors.

4. PanAm – Although PanAm was a vastly successful company for decades, ultimately it failed – in large part to an irreparable image problem caused by a string of terrorist incidents. The image issue combined with the competition of deregulation created a no-win situation for company, which ultimately failed in 1991.

5. Edsel. Edsel was a Ford model released in 1958 and taken out of production the following year after losing the company almost $250 million. The name “Edsel” became synonymous with “marketing failure” because the model’s design was kept under wraps and hyped as a car of the future. But when the public finally saw the actual bland design of the auto, they stayed away and the car became a keyword for failure.

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