### Packard - profits & losses, fun and games with numbers

Posted:

**Tue Apr 19, 2016 6:57 am**A while back noted Packard historian Jim Balfour who has annual reports to the stockholders for almost all years for Ohio Automobile Company, Packard Motor Car Company, and Studebaker-Packard Corporation provided me with some published data from those reports on Packard's financial results and I decided to dabble a bit with the numbers. From 1907 onwards Packard had only 6 loosing years (1921, 1931, 1932, 1934, 1938 and 1946); Studebaker-Packard reported losses for 1954, 1955 and 1956 but those are consolidated results and do not provide individual data for the Packard and Studebaker divisions individually. Though certainly the Depression has a large impact on 1931, 1932 and 1934, a portion of those losses can be attributed to development of two entirely new lines for cars for 1932 (Light Eight and Twin Six) and the development of the new "120" during 1934.

The profit/loss per vehicle was calculated by me from the original data; Packard's best profit years both in terms of dollars and dollars per vehicle sold were all before the Depression, either before the luxury market began to drastically downsize, or they abandoned it as their exclusive niche, or both - however you chose to look at it. The sole exception to this was 1948 which benefited both from the postwar "seller's market" and the fact that the development costs for the new 1948 cars were all borne in 1947 and earlier. Even more revealing about the profitability of 1926, 1928 and 1929 is the sales volume that generated it; 1929's profit of $30.1m was generated from total sales of $135m. By comparison 1949's profit of $7.7m was generated from sales of $214m and more than twice as many vehicles sold.

Another way to look at the data is in terms of net profit to the corporation per car sold. When looking at this data keep in mind the number of cars sold is for the fiscal (calendar) year, not the model year. Also note that for 1954, 1955 and 1956 the total losses are for the S-P corporation as a whole so any data just for Packards sold is really meaningless though I have read somewhere that in 1955 Packard along made a miniscule profit. What really pops out to me in the profit per car data is that in the heyday of Packard's participation in only the true luxury market they averaged about $400 profit per car; compare this to 1937, a boom year in terms of total vehicles built and sold but heavily laden with "junior" cars and they only made $28 per car. I hope you enjoy dabbling and massaging the numbers as much as I have, look forward to your thoughts.

The profit/loss per vehicle was calculated by me from the original data; Packard's best profit years both in terms of dollars and dollars per vehicle sold were all before the Depression, either before the luxury market began to drastically downsize, or they abandoned it as their exclusive niche, or both - however you chose to look at it. The sole exception to this was 1948 which benefited both from the postwar "seller's market" and the fact that the development costs for the new 1948 cars were all borne in 1947 and earlier. Even more revealing about the profitability of 1926, 1928 and 1929 is the sales volume that generated it; 1929's profit of $30.1m was generated from total sales of $135m. By comparison 1949's profit of $7.7m was generated from sales of $214m and more than twice as many vehicles sold.

Another way to look at the data is in terms of net profit to the corporation per car sold. When looking at this data keep in mind the number of cars sold is for the fiscal (calendar) year, not the model year. Also note that for 1954, 1955 and 1956 the total losses are for the S-P corporation as a whole so any data just for Packards sold is really meaningless though I have read somewhere that in 1955 Packard along made a miniscule profit. What really pops out to me in the profit per car data is that in the heyday of Packard's participation in only the true luxury market they averaged about $400 profit per car; compare this to 1937, a boom year in terms of total vehicles built and sold but heavily laden with "junior" cars and they only made $28 per car. I hope you enjoy dabbling and massaging the numbers as much as I have, look forward to your thoughts.