Today we’re setting the wayback machine to November 21, 1952 to review the new 1953 Packard and Packard Clipper lines. The company launched a bold new marketing strategy that year—let’s have a look.
For 1953, the venerable Packard Motor Company reshuffled its product lineup and reintroduced the Clipper, a model name first used by the company in 1941 and discontinued in 1947. New president James J. Nance and his management team recognized that Packard desperately needed to ramp up its production volume in order to compete with the major car makers and their vast economies of scale. So the new Clipper line, based on the former 200 series, was designed to slot into the near-luxury price bracket traditionally held by Buick, with larger sales volumes than Packard’s usual full-luxury segment.
There was only one problem with this necessary product strategy: The junior luxury class was even tougher and more competitive than the full-luxury category, with slimmer operating margins. So while Packard sales volume rose from approximately 63,000 units in 1952 to 90,000 in 1953, the company’s losses continued to mount. Packard’s next big step on October 1, 1954 was a buyout-merger with Studebaker, a deal that did little to improve the prospects of either car maker. The last car to wear a Packard badge rolled off the production line on July 13, 1958.
But enough of the bad news. For 1953 at least, Packard offered a quite respectable lineup of Packard and Packard Clipper models, with stately straight-eight power and a full slate of advanced luxury options including air conditioning. This original 1953 commercial spot shows off the full lineup. Video below.