Merry Christmas and welcome to Packard Motor Car Information! If you're new here, please register for a free account.  
Login
Username:

Password:

Remember me



Lost Password?

Register now!
FAQ's
Main Menu
Recent Forum Topics
Who is Online
54 user(s) are online (49 user(s) are browsing Forums)

Members: 3
Guests: 51

BDeB, Marty or Marston, 29tons, more...
Helping out...
PackardInfo is a free resource for Packard Owners that is completely supported by user donations. If you can help out, that would be great!

Donate via PayPal
Video Content
Visit PackardInfo.com YouTube Playlist

Donate via PayPal



« 1 2 (3) 4 5 6 ... 11 »

Re: New "What Ifs?"
#21
Home away from home
Home away from home

Rusty O\'Toole
See User information
Saying Packard's problems started in 56, 55 or even 54 is too simple. They made some bad decisions before that, with a big company it takes a long time before it is obvious they are on the skids. By that time it is usually too late to do anything.

They were doing great through the war years and in the post war seller's market, which lasted through 1948. It was during this time period that they should have taken advantage of their prosperity to map out a plan for the future. This they did, but either they didn't follow it up, or they didn't adjust their plans to move with the times.

It only took Studebaker 2 years to come up with their own V8, which was frankly inspired by the 49 Cadillac. Likewise Chrysler, who had been working along similar lines with their own V8 since the end of the war.

It was inexcusable for Packard to lag 6 years behind Cadillac, and 4 years behind Studebaker and Chrysler. In those days you had to have something new to sell every year and being that far behind the parade made you a dinosaur, and eventually extinct.

1945 - 55 was the heyday of the medium priced and high priced car, with expensive special editions selling like hot cakes. Packard should have been right in the middle of this market, selling up to 200,000 cars a year. Was that even possible, given a V8 and hotter styling? I don't know, but without the volume there is no way they could make enough profit to develop new models and stay in business. That is what killed them in the end. Not the flaws of the 1955 V8 and Twin Ultramatic. The lack of sales and profits between 1945 and 1955, that left them behind the 8 ball.

Posted on: 2014/6/28 7:33
 Top  Print 
 


Re: New "What Ifs?"
#22
Home away from home
Home away from home

Steve203
See User information
Packard outsourced to Briggs in 1940 or thereabouts. So did many other auto makers. Not just bodies but many other parts.

Yes, it is routine, to this day, to outsource many small parts. In the 50s, as today, it was routine to outsource steering to Gemmer, wheels and brakes to Kelsey Hayes, transmissions to Borg Warner, and stampings to Budd, or any of the other stamping plants in the area.

Body building was another matter. Briggs had been losing customers for years as companies brought body building in house. Even Hudson had it's own body plant. Kaiser assembled and trimed bodies itself at Willow Run. And the Ward book says that quality issues with Briggs bodies had been an ongoing problem for years, so Packard was not helping itself by outsourcing.

I am more disappointed by the all new 51s. It would have been a sensation in 1948, but by 1951 was just another car, that looked like the 1948 Cadillac and Futuramic Oldsmobile 98.

Actually, the 51 Packard styling was pretty advanced. Note how flat the hood is, with the fender tops almost level with the center of the hood. Cadillac didn't have that until 57. Same thing with the rear fenders and trunk lid. The early 50s Cadillacs still reflected the prewar trend of having the tops of the fenders lower than the trunk lid. The detailing of the Packard, the grill and some of the trim on the side doesn't come off too well, but the basic shell was fine.

Posted on: 2014/6/28 9:54
 Top  Print 
 


Re: New "What Ifs?"
#23
Home away from home
Home away from home

Steve203
See User information
But my what ifs still include wisely pulling back body tooling back to EGB instead of leasing Conner from Chrysler,

Pulling body assembly back to EGB would still leave the problem of sourcing stampings. Did Budd have the capacity available? Chrysler didn't want to supply Packard. For whatever reason the Hudson body plant was not available. Shipping stampings from the Nash body plant in Milwaukee was expensive. Buying Willow Run from Kaiser in 53 would not solve the problem because Kaiser did not have enough stamping capacity. From what I have found, Kaiser was only making the roof, hood and doors at W-R. They moved floorpan and firewall production, and the presses to make those parts, from W-R to Ohio in 51. Other stampings were still outsourced.

Then there is the capital expendature needed. Even if Packard was able to source stampings, there is still a matter of providing spray booths and ovens, and a place to install them. I have seen photos of EGB when they made bodies in house with a forest of ventilation ducts coming out of first floor windows and running up the side of the building to the roof. It must have been spectacularly miserable to work in there. I like my idea of roofing over the courtyards between the wings of buildings 31-38, and replacing building 39 to provide clear high bay space, but Packard didn't seen to want to make the investment.

Posted on: 2014/6/28 10:17
 Top  Print 
 


Re: New "What Ifs?"
#24
Home away from home
Home away from home

Steve203
See User information
without the volume there is no way they could make enough profit to develop new models and stay in business.

As Tim's post shows, prior to 50, Packard outsold Cadillac. How did Cadillac have the money to develop the V8 and new styling? It wasn't from Caddy having state of the art, efficient, plants. Here are some photos, #4 being the Hudson body plant that Caddy bought in 56. Caddy's facilities were just as obsolete as EGB, yet they used these 1920s vintage plants into the 80s.

My hunch is GM was subsidizing Cadillac as a halo model. If that is the case, Packard could never have invested in product and facilities, priced competitively and made a profit.

Attach file:



jpg  (30.22 KB)
53041_53aede35212e8.jpg 550X452 px

jpg  (58.81 KB)
53041_53aede409a65d.jpg 550X478 px

jpg  (33.31 KB)
53041_53aede4e69bab.jpg 700X462 px

jpg  (31.63 KB)
53041_53aede5ab7baf.jpg 550X404 px

Posted on: 2014/6/28 10:27
 Top  Print 
 


Re: New "What Ifs?"
#25
Home away from home
Home away from home

Rusty O\'Toole
See User information
If you include junior Packard sales you should include LaSalle. Note the jump in Cadillac sales when they dropped LaSalle and replaced it with a cheaper Cadillac in 1941.

No doubt Cadillac benefited from GM's buying power when it came to steel, tires etc and from the implied subsidy of sharing the Hydramatic with other cars. A lot of body design and styling was shared with other cars too.

There may have been years when GM subsidized Cadillac more directly but on the whole, Cadillac was a profitable division. They would not have kept a perennial loser. In fact during the depression they seriously considered dropping Cadillac.

But, that was the business they were in. For Packard to be competitive they had to take advantage of their own strengths and develop the sales volume to compete. I know this was a constant worry around the Packard boardroom. They were more concerned about mass sales in the medium price brackets and looked on the senior cars as a nuisance, and were trying to think up ways to expand into cheaper cars.

Posted on: 2014/6/28 12:21
 Top  Print 
 


Re: New "What Ifs?"
#26
Home away from home
Home away from home

Steve203
See User information
Expanding on the point about production levels, here are the numbers from Wiki


1946 Packard: 30,793 Cadillac: 29,214

1947 Packard: 51,086 Cadillac: 61,926

1948 Packard: 92,251 Cadillac: 52,706

1949 Packard: 116,955 Cadillac: 92,554

1950 Packard: 42,627 Cadillac: 103,857

1951 Packard: 100,713 Cadillac: 110,340

1952 Packard: 62,921 Cadillac: 90,259

1953 Packard: 90,252 Cadillac: 109,651

1954 Packard: 31,291 Cadillac: 96,680

1955 Packard: 55,247 Cadillac: 140,777

Cadillac had an obvious subsidy in being able to share development cost of the Hydramatic with Pontiac and Olds, as well as Hudson, Nash, Kaiser and Lincoln, while Packard shouldered the cost of the Ultramatic itself, but where was Cadillac getting the money for the new platform in 48 and V8 in 49, if not a subsidy from Chevy? And if GM was content to run Cadillac at a loss in order to knock Packard out of it's place as the top luxury brand, Packard was cooked. There is nothing that Christopher, or Ferry, or Nance could have done.

Posted on: 2014/6/28 12:32
 Top  Print 
 


Re: New "What Ifs?"
#27
Home away from home
Home away from home

Rusty O\'Toole
See User information
Cadillac made their money selling a lot of expensive cars. Their advantage in being part of GM was mainly in buying power, low cost credit, sharing the cost of bodies and new tooling with Buick and Olds, and economies of scale that come from being part of a big corporation. So far as I know Cadillac showed a profit every year except for a few years in the depression. According to people who worked there in the thirties and forties they were always looking for ways to simplify and cut costs, without reducing perceived quality. I could give examples if you like. This was standard practice at every company, including Packard.

Packard was hardly a dime store company and the sales figures show it. They did well most years until 1954 then went quickly down hill. This might lead one to believe their problems started in 1954, I disagree. They would have done much better if they had a V8 engine and sharper styles a few years earlier and if they had carried out their plan to ramp up production and sales to 150,000 - 200,000 a year which was not out of the question. By 1954 - 55 - 56 they had already missed the boat.

Posted on: 2014/6/28 13:59
 Top  Print 
 


Re: New "What Ifs?"
#28
Home away from home
Home away from home

Tim Cole
See User information
The point I make by only showing Cadillac production rather than Cadillac-LaSalle is to debunk the assertion that the 110 and 120 drove luxury sales away to Cadillac. The Cadillac figures don't bear that out. They are abysmal.

That dropping the LaSalle boosted Cadillac sales doesn't pan out either because the increase in sales far outstrips the LaSalle. Bolt for bolt the Cadillac seemed sturdier than the Packard. However, when new those Packard Super 8's were an absolute dream on the road. Although Hydramatic put Cadillac firmly in front of Packard in terms of engineering, for a luxury car should it mean that much? Who cares if the chauffer doesn't have to shift gears? What Hydramatic did achieve was to make the V-8 as smooth as the V-16.

Sometimes a product becomes a hit. In 1941 Cadillac became a star product. Those things happen sometimes and they are not always anticipated. Today pickup trucks are the profit center. I don't understand why. I was looking at some of the latest output coming from one of the plants and not a single truck was a work truck. People just decided they like pickup trucks. The same is true of Harley-Davidson. What rational explanation is there for that one?

What GM did right was keep putting money into the new Cadillac business. Of course today Cadillac is a worthless sinkhole.

Posted on: 2014/6/28 15:29
 Top  Print 
 


Re: New "What Ifs?"
#29
Home away from home
Home away from home

Steve203
See User information
Their advantage in being part of GM was mainly in buying power, low cost credit, sharing the cost of bodies and new tooling with Buick and Olds, and economies of scale that come from being part of a big corporation. So far as I know Cadillac showed a profit every year except for a few years in the depression.

Still, subsidies. R&D costs mostly covered by other divisions. Economies of scale enabled by the other divisions. Cost of credit, really not a factor as Packard had no debt in the late 40s.

They would have done much better if they had a V8 engine and sharper styles a few years earlier and if they had carried out their plan to ramp up production and sales to 150,000 - 200,000

Excessively conservative management didn't help, but, for the reasons listed above, over the long term, there probably was nothing that Packard could afford, that would have kept them in business alone.

Apparently, Nance was looking for merger partners as soon as he started in 52, to build that volume. He even took a look at Kaiser, though I'm sure Henry would never have let anyone else run "his" company. Check into the history of Kaiser-Frazer and you'll see how Joe Frazer and the experienced auto industry people he brought in were pushed out after Frazer himself was pushed out, and replaced with Kaiser construction and shipbuilding people from the west coast. One incident was the "orange squeezer" put in charge of the Willow Run paint shop. A man from Kaiser's construction interests, a good man, but he had no clue how to get a decent paint finish on a car in a humid Michigan summer.

Actually, Hudson might have had some potential. Both being in Detroit, they could combined foundry operations. Us the Hudson body shop on Conner to get free of Briggs. Rebrand the Clipper as Hudson Hornet and Wasp. Maybe revive the Essex or Terraplane brand for a low priced entry to replace the failed Jet. A merger with Hudson would have also had the advantage that Barit was ready to retire, leaving the executive suite open for Nance.

Posted on: 2014/6/28 17:03
 Top  Print 
 


Re: New "What Ifs?"
#30
Home away from home
Home away from home

Craig the Clipper Man
See User information
Tim:

I take offense at your statement that "[O]f course today Cadillac is a worthless sink hole." Where do you get off making such a blatantly stupid statement as that. Have you driven a new XTS or a CTS or an ATS? You obviously have not and your ignorance about the brand -- as far as Cadillac's current models -- is simply breathtaking. There is not a single automotive magazine being published today (with the possible exception of some German chauvinists) that has not put into writing that the ATS is the equal of the Mercedes C class, Audi 4, and BMW 3 series. And all you have to do with those German cars is wait until they hit about 70,000 miles and your pocketbook will be significantly lighter if not empty. Talk about sink holes! That is where your money goes when you own a BMW over five years!

Posted on: 2014/6/28 19:00
You can make a lot of really neat things from the parts left over after you rebuild your engine ...
 Top  Print 
 




« 1 2 (3) 4 5 6 ... 11 »




Search
Recent Photos
Boneyard 400 close up (11/30/2022)
Boneyard 400 close up
Boneyard 400 (11/30/2022)
Boneyard 400
1937 115c Touring (11/27/2022)
1937 115c Touring
Photo of the Day
1953 Packard convertible, top folded, couple sitting in front seat, parked on street
Recent Registry
Website Comments or Questions?? Click Here Copyright 2006-2021, PackardInfo.com All Rights Reserved