Wednesday 15th August 1956
Packard operations in Detroit were brought to a halt. In a “death knell” decision, for 1957 and 1958, a limited range of Packards would be built off of Studebaker platforms at Studebaker’s South Bend, Indiana plant. No attempt was made to move the Packard tooling or production activities from Detroit. In fact, Packard was dead. Rather than retain the Packard nameplate, in one more bad decision, the 1957 Packard models were to be called “Clippers” and later, the decision was made to call the 1958 models “Packards”. Both were, however, far nothing more than Studebakers with different styling – and the decision basically ran off the majority of the Packard customers and did not attract any new ones. There was nothing wrong with Packard as a luxury line. Had Packard continued to occupy the niche that they sat in before 1957 and had become a botique brand like Lincoln, they would have survived. But the cost of production could not be borne and there was no money to set up a separate assembly line in South Bend. For 1956, the total model run of Packards was a mere 28,835 cars. Calendar year sales dropped to 13,432. Packard slid to the 15th industry ranking. These figures did not combine Packard and Studebaker sales – Studebaker was ranked 13th.