In the early fifties US economy was recovering from the war. Workers earned more money, moved into suburbs and were spending most of their wages for things they couldn't buy during the war years. New cars have been bought, bigger and more expensive than ever before.
Exactly that was Ford's problem. There was a price gap between Ford and Mercury. Many of the potential customers who wanted to upgrade from a Ford couldn't afford a Mercury and chose a Chrysler or GM car. Ford wanted to fill this price gap with what later was named the Edsel.
Some of the leading managers warned that this was no good idea, but on April 18th, 1955 the Special Products Division was founded. Robert S. McNamara, who voted against the project, became the leading manager. The rooms were small and poorly equipped, and instead of the requested employees often other workers who were "just available" were moved to the new division.
The Special Products Division was publicly announced on August 7th, 1956. The internal code name was E car, but the press assumed it would be called Edsel. Members of the Ford family didn't want to see one of their relative's name on ads and neon letters, so a search for a better name was started. Without success. Finally the car was named as it has been called by the press.
Only a picture of the hood ornament had been published before the car was introduced to the public, but undetailed rumors were passed to the press that gladly printed long articles about the new and secret car.