AUTOS: Up from Edsel

A few years ago, jokes about the star-crossed Edsel were a part of almost every comedian's patter. For employees at Ford's Lincoln-Mercury Division, which produced the car, it only hurt when audiences laughed. Bedeviled by bad timing and uneven management, the whole division had become a career junkyard for faltering executives and a rugged boot camp for beginners. Beyond Edsel, Lincoln-Mercury's models offered little individuality. They were nothing but larger, costlier Fords. Sales fell so low that many Lincoln-Mercury dealers were forced to depend on used-car sales.

Today, Lincoln-Mercury is Detroit's comeback...

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