In reality, Packard’s crucial mistakes were made years before. After the war, when a company could sell anything on wheels, Packard could have reverted to type, rebuilding its reputation as a luxury automaker. Instead it pursued the lower-priced markets that had saved it in the Depression. Stemming from this marketing mistake was a series of product decisions that flew in the face of Packard’s proud heritage.
James J. Nance's efforts to supplement the Patrician with more luxury Packards paid off in 1953—a testimonial to his determination. Advertising assumed a decided up-market look, and the results were agreeable. Calendar ’53 saw 81,000 cars, up by a third and the best since 1950. Sofari sogoody, as Churchill once said. But what next?
Why did Studebaker go out of business? I have your book Studebaker 1946-1966, originally published as Studebaker: The Postwar Years. I worked for the old company at the end in Hamilton, Ontario. Your book brought back memories of many old Studebaker hands. Stylists Bob Doehler and Bob Andrews were good friends about my age.
I am looking forward to the last chapter discussing how Studebaker went wrong, especially since I also have theories. It would fun to compare notes. I often quote from your book: “For many years, Raymond Loewy Associates would be the only thing standing between Studebaker and dull mediocrity.”…