Packard finished the war significantly richer, but the management’s erroneous decisions were becoming more glaring with time. It resumed car production for civilians again by updating some of the 1942 models which were released as the 1946 models. The Senior series cars were not produced as only assemblies and facilities for clippers were available. The Clipper soon became archaic with new envelope bodies appearing in the market. Without doubt, this affected them, and the company did not really come out with new cars until 1951, unlike other car manufacturers that rolled out new cars as soon as 1948/49. The company drooped six-cylinder cars for American markets and also produced a convertible.
The styling of the Packard cars between 1948 – 1950 received mixed reviews. While some thought it was a sleek blend of modern and classic, others called it the pregnant elephant, and with the recent developments by the competition, it was becoming more and more difficult for Packard to stay ahead of its competitors in the market. Other car manufacturers designed more sleek cars that made Packard design appear old fashioned, and they added newer engines that appear capable of better performance. Other brands such as Cadillac brought innovation to the industry with Cadillac offering automatic transmission in 1941. It took Packard till 1949 to catch up with Ultramatic which it started offering in all its models.
With the Ultramatic, Packard became the only car manufacturer in America apart from GM to develop its automatic transmission in the house. Many other car manufacturers outsourced their designs. While the Ultramatic was a good idea, it deprived Packard of the resources that could have been spent on producing a very important modern V8 engine. In response to Coupe DeVille by Cadillac, Packard produced a station wagon which had a very poor sale with only 3864 units sold within three years of production. While the Packard cars of the late 1940s and early 50s used the best materials and reflected the tradition of craftsmanship that the company was famous for. Several factors, notably the fact that its low-priced cars had the most sales and it was affecting the prestige and reputation of the high-end cars coupled with poor marketing decisions. In the end, it lost the position of the premier luxury automaker to Cadillac.
The disagreement between the board members on the approach to design led to the resignation of the president and Hugh Ferry, who was the treasurer, became the president, a position he did not want to take. The company completely redesigned the 1951 Packard and introduced the 400, 300, and 250 Patricians which were flagship models. The Patrician replaced the Custom Eight Line as the top car in the Packard line, but some considered the decision to use a smaller but cheaper power plant to denigrate the automaker image of luxury cars. The board members’ old age was also a significant issue, as there was no one to offer new perspectives.