To read this content please select one of the options below:

The Sinclair C5 – Why Did it Fail?

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 1 April 1990



Sir Clive Sinclair – an electronics genius – has developed a number of completely innovative products and made remarkable breakthroughs in technology. He has had great success, but also some disasters, the most notable being the C5 electric vehicle. The reasons for this failure are examined mainly from a marketing perspective. Sinclair ignored the basic principles of marketing and new product development, and thereby made a number of fundamental errors. The market was badly defined, there was a lack of both quantitative and qualitative market research, the safety and performance aspects of the vehicle failed to meet the manufacturer′s claims, the advertising messages were confusing, the product and price unsatisfactory and the distribution methods chosen were inappropriate to such a new product concept – in general, marketing principles were totally ignored. Suggestions as to how the C5 failure could have been avoided are presented.



Marks, A.P. (1990), "The Sinclair C5 – Why Did it Fail?", Management Decision, Vol. 28 No. 4.




Copyright © 1990, MCB UP Limited

Related articles