View Full Version : No Studebaker Bail-Out in 1963!

01-04-2009, 08:22 PM
:) While perusing files for something else today, I ran across an interesting "Studebaker Closing" article saved from the December 15, 1963 Chicago Sun-Times. It's a lengthy (full newspaper page) piece penned by writer Donald Schwartz, entitled South Bend Restores Its Confidence.

Quoted extensively in the article are reasonable thoughts by Professor Thomas P. Bergin, then of Notre Dame's Business Administration School.

Reflecting on what we are experiencing 45 years later, about 2/3 of the way through this Sun-Times article is the following subheading and text. I quote verbatim (remember, this was published December 15, 1963):

Some Federal Assistance

The federal government is supplying some expert assistance in the crisis, such as a Labor Specialist in job placement who flew into South Bend last week. But the consensus is that no miracle should be expected from Washington.

One politician says Washington simply hasn't got the resources to do much about the situation...

There is another issue about which civic and business leaders feel strongly and which is both a problem and an opportunity to South Bend. This is its labor reputation which is, ironically, something that all say is far different from its labor record.

The reputation is of a town that had a lot of labor trouble -not merely the common negotiation conflicts and work stoppages- but also a reputation, especially at Studebaker, for workers who were lazy and union contract advantages which made it hard for the company to be efficient.

Bergin, in a charitable understatement, said, "Studebaker made concessions right after World War II because it was anxious to get into production."

One man, who deals constantly with attracting industry, said:

"We know we have many companies growing and expanding in this community. We're doing well. But on this old issue people outside the area point a crooked finger at us. If they only wouldn't judge us on the past, and would look at us as we are today.

If people misconstrue this Studebaker closing we're dead again. But if they find out the facts, they'll think otherwise."

Byers A. Burlingame, Studebaker President, went out of his way in announcing the shutdown to say it wasn't caused by a labor problem -although he didn't say, he meant the city's old labor problem.

Now South Bend, as it faces up to the layoffs, is hoping the country will get the message.

That was the end of the article. (Imagine the audacity of some politician saying, "Washington simply hasn't got the resources to do much about the situation." Blasphemy!)

Ah, the more things change, the more they stay the same...with that exception, of course! :DBP

01-04-2009, 08:38 PM
The parallels between GM's current situation and Studebakers fate in
1963 are quite interesting. Studebaker thought that a new exciting
car would bring people into their showrooms and help sell their bread
and butter models. The Avanti was created, then production problems
pushed its release date back by months. The company ended up closing
its doors. So the Car that would save Studebaker ended up killing it.

Fast forward to 2006 GM annouces the return of the Camaro, its thought
that this models return will stir attention to the slipping Company and
help to sell its bread and butter cars. Production problems push back
its release a couple YEARS as it turns to Holden to help create a rear
drive platform. Then the company that supplies the interior goes into
bankruptcy and refuses to return the supplied machines to produce all
the panels. GM is now looking at a potential 6 month wait to get back
on track for production.

Without a bailout would we see GM follow Studebakers fate? Hmmmm.


'63 Avanti, zinc plated drilled & slotted 03 Mustang Cobra 13" front disc/98 GT rear brakes, 03 Cobra 17" wheels, GM alt, 97 Z28 leather seats, soon: TKO 5-spd, Ported heads w/SST full flow valves, 'R3' 276 cam, Edelbrock AFB Carb, GM HEI distributor, 8.8mm plug wires

01-04-2009, 08:41 PM
quote:Originally posted by BobPalma
Bergin, in a charitable understatement, said, "Studebaker made concessions right after World War II because it was anxious to get into production."

Apparently, there WAS some truth to that statement, according to E.T. Reynolds, Sr.



Desert Explorer
01-06-2009, 05:11 PM
History repeats itself, or maybe not.