The 1939 Studebaker Champion marked a return for Studebaker to a cheaper low level entry car. Its competitors had all produced cars for this market. Ford, Chevrolet, and
Plymouth had cars that Studebaker wanted to match. One problem was that in the initial stages, it costs considerably to produce a new car and Studebaker knew it would
have to face a probable loss in the first year of production. Hoffman and Vance again hired the Raymond Loewy firm to do the design work. A car was designed which weighed
less than the average family car thus resulting in savings on fuel and operating costs.
The car was powered by a 78 horsepower 6-cylinder inline engine and had such features as the Planar front wheel suspension, a gearshift mounted on the steering column,
speedometer, gas gauge, Autolite ignition, two-way shock absorbers, and steel disc wheels. It was easily recognized from its chrome strip that ran down the center of the
hood to the grille.
The car was named "Champion" and it became a leader in the mid-size car market and it created a new vitality in the Studebaker company itself. Although costing slightly
more than the cars of its competitors, the Champion with its lighter weight created savings that people were made aware of through advertising. The company's overall
production of cars and trucks doubled and profits increased significantly.