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Chevrolet News:Corvette Stingray To Only Be Sold At 'High Volume' Dealers


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By William Maley

Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

January 23, 2013

Chevrolet appears to be taking some notes from SRT's playbook on how to sell the Corvette Stingray. According to Automotive News, General Motors told Chevrolet dealers that if they had sold four or more Corvettes in 2012, they would be able to sell the Stingray. This move will effect hundreds of Chevrolet dealers.

"I don't anticipate getting the new Corvette this year, and many smaller dealers like me won't get it either," says Byron Hansen, a Chevrolet dealer in Brigham City, Utah.

Dealers who did not hit the sales mark last year are very disappointed, since they used the Corvette as a way to bring people in.

"Being a Chevy dealer and not being able to sell Corvette -- that makes me sad," says Jim Stutzman, owner of Jim Stutzman Chevrolet-Cadillac in Winchester, Va.

Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.


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So re: the sad dealers, should ALL dealers get at least one Corvette per year? At least it would be a showroom draw and in order to get one the following year, they need to sell the current year's allotment. Sound logical?

I don't see why Chevy should follow SRT/Dodge here. Corvette is known as America's sports car, and limiting the dealers who can sell them is wrong in my book. I may not be able to afford a Corvette, but I've always enjoyed looking at the one's in the showroom (and if allowed to sit in it, I've enjoyed making vroom-vroom sounds :P ).

I do not agree with this marketing strategy at all.

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I think GM needs to adjust accordingly, fullfill all big dealers first and then allow the small dealers to get their hands on one. No reason to keep the American Vette out of dealerships willing to pony up the money.

I just think they need to go to those dealers that move volume first and then backfill. That would be a better way to run the program.

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If you had the small dealers like we have in the outlaying areas we do here you would understand.


The Vette needs to be focused with dealers that know the car and know how to sell it. They also need to have a service department that has at least one tech or more trained to work on the car. Some of the small dealers here have never even changed oil in these cars.

GM I feel is working to better serve the customers buy having dealers that know the car inside and out and know what the hell they are doing here.

I have seen issues just with the HHR SS owners where many owners who have had issues have taken the SS to a Chevy dealer that had never seen a SS let alone even sold one. They take it into the service department of a small dealer and have issues with solving the problem with the vehicle.

My dealer where I bought mine from and had my warranty work done at has a couple techs that are trained on specialize in the turbo engines. Remember this was a few years ago when a Turbo 4 was rare at Chevy. They also did all the Diesel Turbo work and the one that worked on my car was fully trained on the ZR1 as the one say he had to clearance my I/C for the Turbo upgrade kit he also had Goodyears ZR1 in with a full cage in it.

There were some issues with the Turbo up grade kits as they replaced the 2 bar Maps with 3 bar Bosch units from a Alfa Romeo. This required crimp connectors that take a Special Kent More tool to crimp. Also in some the I/C needed shimmed forward to clearance the lowe Map. I was lucky as my guy had a clue and installed mine proper. Many others worked with small dealers with no clue and had endless duability issues. In fact I learned a lot on this set up from the GM engineer that oversaw the project and the tech that installed mine. I was able to pass the info on to the others on the HHR web site and many were able to solve the issues once they told the dealer what to do.

As the Corvette becomes more and more complex and as long as sales are as low as they are GM needs to do a better job of selling and servicing these vehicles. To be fair if a smaller dealer can prove they can properly do this they should be considered but too many of them are unfit and will not meet the standards this car needs.

We have to remember this is not just any Chevy it is a $55K-135K Chevy and the people who shell out this kind of money expect more than someone buying a Spark. That is not to say Gm is not servicing Spark owners proplerly but with the price goes up the expectation qudruple.

The Vette is no longer a car that is similar to a Impala or Camaro. At one time if you could fix an Impala you could work on any Vette but today it takes much more. This is not my opinion but what the Service writer at Doug Chevy told me.

Sad that the small dealers get the shaft if they are a good dealer but often they never sold one or sold one at best so it will not effect them much if any.

Hell the dealer that was in Clay WV was so small they could not get a car in it. THey would sell a handfull of Cobalts and a Impala and Monte but most of their volume was trucks. If they had sold a Vette in the last 25 years I would be shocked. Same for Buck Chevy in Canal Fulton Ohio. The one in WV closed not long ago as they could not rebuild and the town was so small they hardly could support the dealer where it was. It was a sad end of an era but times and buying habits changed.



Anyone remember the Mekur failure and Pantera failure at dealers even more ill prepared to deal with a high end car they had no clue about.

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If you had the small dealers like we have in the outlaying areas we do here you would understand.

Anyone remember the Mekur failure and Pantera failure at dealers even more ill prepared to deal with a high end car they had no clue about.

I remember seeing Merkurs on the lot at the small Ohio L-M dealer where my Dad bought his Lincolns, the service guys my Dad knew there said they weren't particularly happy about working them...I don't think they sold very many back in the day.

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Merkurs failed in part because of how they were marketed and for the most many of the dealers did not care or work to better sell them. It was much easier to sell a Cougar or a Turbo T bird. Cheaper too.

Ford needed to work that program better with some core dealers that were trained to better deal with them. Even then they would have been a tough sell.

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I'm sure if someone walked into one of the small dealers they could get them a Corvette. I know it's nice walking into any dealer and seeing a Corvette (or any other halo car) in the showroom, but if no one is buying Corvettes at that dealership, it doesn't make sense having the car sit there for months or a year.

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I'm sure if someone walked into one of the small dealers they could get them a Corvette. I know it's nice walking into any dealer and seeing a Corvette (or any other halo car) in the showroom, but if no one is buying Corvettes at that dealership, it doesn't make sense having the car sit there for months or a year.

True and then they have to mark it down to move it.

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While I agree with the logics behind limiting the Corvette to dealer-equipped and trained staff and high volume, I don't agree with GM playing the "following game" with Dodge/SRT. Since they mentioned it first, I'd let them have fun limiting the availability of the new Viper while I (GM) would have fun giving it out to any dealer that asks for one. Of course GM could mandate that at least one mechanic is trained on repairs and is equipped with the necessary tools for those repairs. I just think it's a stupid plan to bring more attention to the Corvette - the real people that are hurt are the low-volume dealers that want to sell the new one and the customers that may have to drive out of their way to a "big box" dealer to buy one. If a dealer wants to have a Corvette for a halo-car-in-the-showroom gimmick, why should the manufacturer deny the request? GM needs to start leading with their marketing ideas rather than following on their competitor's heels.

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While I agree with the logics behind limiting the Corvette to dealer-equipped and trained staff and high volume, I don't agree with GM playing the "following game" with Dodge/SRT. Since they mentioned it first, I'd let them have fun limiting the availability of the new Viper while I (GM) would have fun giving it out to any dealer that asks for one. Of course GM could mandate that at least one mechanic is trained on repairs and is equipped with the necessary tools for those repairs. I just think it's a stupid plan to bring more attention to the Corvette - the real people that are hurt are the low-volume dealers that want to sell the new one and the customers that may have to drive out of their way to a "big box" dealer to buy one. If a dealer wants to have a Corvette for a halo-car-in-the-showroom gimmick, why should the manufacturer deny the request? GM needs to start leading with their marketing ideas rather than following on their competitor's heels.

Keep in mind that many dealers use GM financing to have auto's on the lot and GM will not want to have to discount them down to sell them in a year if it can avoid that.

I have seen some small dealers that did the Halo thing with the SSR and then had them cut way down to move them which just hurts residual value.

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While I agree with the logics behind limiting the Corvette to dealer-equipped and trained staff and high volume, I don't agree with GM playing the "following game" with Dodge/SRT. Since they mentioned it first, I'd let them have fun limiting the availability of the new Viper while I (GM) would have fun giving it out to any dealer that asks for one. Of course GM could mandate that at least one mechanic is trained on repairs and is equipped with the necessary tools for those repairs. I just think it's a stupid plan to bring more attention to the Corvette - the real people that are hurt are the low-volume dealers that want to sell the new one and the customers that may have to drive out of their way to a "big box" dealer to buy one. If a dealer wants to have a Corvette for a halo-car-in-the-showroom gimmick, why should the manufacturer deny the request? GM needs to start leading with their marketing ideas rather than following on their competitor's heels.

This is something that has been on GM's mind for a long time.

The Vette has been a blessing but also an issue within GM since the 80's.

The problem is Chevy is GM's value leader of affordable cars. While the Vette is the affordable super car a ZR1 and even some of the lesser Vettes are not the common car many dealers would sell let alone stock. The fact is 90% of the dealers not getting a Vette have not sold a Vette in the recent years anyways.

I think concentraiting the Vette on offical trained and approved dealers is the compromise to keep the Vette under the Chevy banner but better serve the owners and the Vette brand as a whole. Many have in the past inside GM looked at making the Vette a brand of it's own but that never flew with Chevy who has relied on this car as a hallmark for 60 years. Like it or not GM has accepted the two are joined at the hip.

This is what we are looking at. In the last 5 years the Vette has averaged 13K in sales. Last year was only 12K units and GM knows they need to move this up or the Vette could at some point fail as all other models it does not get a free pass, I know some think it does but it does not. The goal now is to double sales with the C7 and take it global.

Two areas they look to expand is the younger buyers and to capture buyers of other sports car brands. They want the owner of a 911 who they may get to consider a Vette to be treated to a higher level of service in shopping, buying and servicing his car. By putting this in the hands of larger dealers they will be able to step this up in the Chevy line and give Vette service. The 911 guy if GM gets lucky enough to consider them does not want Spark level of service.

I know that GM needs to treat all buyers with a top level of service but when you get over $50K people expect even more.

I think GM is looking to make this more than just selling Vettes and someone buying a Vette. What GM wants is someone to be a Vette owner and to recieve all that goes with being a Vette owner. You no longer buy a Corvette but you will become a Corvette owner.

Lets face it the little dealers will mostly lose a little ego as most of the dealers that will be included here are the ones selling most of the cars now. So few are sold on the low end it should really not effect them much if at all. Many people are going to these larger dealers anyways as they are selling the cars so much cheaper as it is.

I know one guy I knew who was selling new Vettes with an agreement with a smaller dealer that could not move them. He would buy them and sell them through his exotic car dealership. They made money and he made money but without him the dealer would have not sold a single car. I am not sure if GM would have been happy with this but I suspect they were none the wiser and often these cars were shipped overseas anyways.

Anyways this way of dealing with the brand will strengthen the brand and hopefully capture sales from other makes that are already treating their customers like royalty.

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I totally get what you're saying hyper, but a lot of the volume Chevy dealers around me (high volume ones, like Reedman-Toll Autoworld), lump Corvettes in the same showroom as the rest of the brands they sell. Now if these volume Chevy dealers were going to add a separate area for Corvettes with equally as trained salespeople as the service department is getting, then it would make sense. But the same salesperson that sells a Spark one hour and then a Corvette the next is not offering the Corvette customer top-notch sales experience.

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http://www.kerbeck.com/Here is what I have found at some of the larger dealers that like to specialize in Vette as of now on their own. It is not far from what I expect Chevy to want.


They normally have one or two sales people that are dedicated to Vettes and know the product inside out and upside down. Now if needed they may be sell some other products but when any sales or inquiries come in they deal with the customers on a one to one baisis. They often have a private office and not some cubical and it is taylored to the Vette.

These dealers also keep many Vettes on hand and often work deals with other dealers for product and often can make a buck or so in trades if it is a in demand model. They also work a lot with used Vettes and some classic models too. To be to the point they are part of the dealer but almost work as a dealer on their own with just Vettes.

They also have a handfull of techs that are trained also inside and out on the Vette and when they touch your car it is far from the first Vette they have ever worked on. You car does not become an experiment on let see if we can fix it. My Neighbor used a dealer like this near Chicago in Indiana. They had a couple guys who were dedicated to Vettes and has cars from far away waiting for service since they were well known for working on them. He came across them on a trip to Chicago when his fuel pump died. They had to pull down some of the drivetrain because the tank mounted pump did not have a plate to get to it like a year later Vette does on the C5.

The SRT thing is nothing new as Shelby, Calaway and many other have done the same thing and only worked with selected dealer to up the quality of care and service.

You may want to check out Kerbeck Chevy as they run a divison at their dealer advertiesed as Kerbeck Corvette. They are the largest volume Vette dealer in the world. They have a Cadillac, Chevy. Buick and GMC dealershps and the Corvette dealer is almost like a dealer unto its self. I do not expect that Chevy will force dealers to go to this extreme but it gives an idea of how better to handle the car.

One this to also consider is with future models and even with the C8 things may get even more advanced and more difficult to deal with, Many of the small dealers either can't or should not work on a ZR1 and even some of the new systems on the C7. The key is to have few issues and if there is a problem the dealer working on the car needs to get it right the first time and fast. At this point lord only knows what GM is working on and they may be looking at making things less painful for owners.

I can remember when the first ZR1 came out and many dealers were lost on that car. GM did not do a great job of preparing dealers for issues and but many dealers made no attempt to learn anything as many never expected to see one of these cars. If they did it was a rude awakening.

Nothing against the small dealers but it is in the best interest of GM, Corvette and even the small dealers to let those who are best able to deal with thses car in the future.

Check this out. http://www.kerbeck.com/ I think most dealers could even do web sites where the focus would be on the cars and all aspects of ownership. The dealers could even make more money from stocking acessories, clothing and diecast. These are things these owners buy. Even GM could taylor track days and events where Pratt and Miller are racing.

The key here is to enhance the entire program from the first contact to the customer to the sale and any service needs. Owning a Corvette is not just buying a car it will take the buyer will become a Covette owner.

The Vette while still low cost has crossed into a space where if you want more than the traditional buyers you need to give them the whole experience. With sales where they are at they want and hope to find 13,000 more owners and most have never owned one before.

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Perhaps they could consider a travelling vette for the smaller dealers? 2 weeks at a dealer, then hitch a ride with the next car hauler to another dealer for a couple weeks. After a couple months, get a 'vette for another couple weeks.

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