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January 30, 2013 1:27 PM

Why one Chevy dealer REALLY loves the new Corvette Stingray

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Dealer Steve Hurley was stunned to learn that the Stingray name -- and the stingraychevrolet.com Web address -- was unclaimed.

Photo credit: Bloomberg
Mike Colias covers General Motors for Automotive News.

Many people liked Chevrolet's decision to badge its next-generation Corvette with the throwback Stingray name. Steve Hurley really liked it.

He's dealer principal at Stingray Chevrolet in Plant City, Fla.

"It plays into our hands perfectly," says Hurley. "When people hear there's a dealership called Stingray Chevrolet, how will they not think that it's the perfect place to come in and get the new Corvette?"

Not that Hurley needed the marketing boost.

In 2011 he was one of the country's top Corvette dealers, having sold nearly 200 of them. Last year Stingray slipped a little, selling 119 Vettes. (Hurley attributes the decline to other big Corvette dealers aggressively moving the outgoing model so they'll be allocated more of the next-gen Vette under General Motors' turn-and-earn allocation system).

Hurley, 50, owns the dealership along with business partner Tom Durant, owner of Classic Chevrolet in Grapevine, Texas, the nation's largest Chevy store by volume. They bought the Plant City store in late 2008 as part of Bill Heard Enterprises Inc.'s 14-store bankruptcy liquidation.

At the time, Hurley was stunned to learn that the Stingray name -- and the stingraychevrolet.com Web address -- was unclaimed.

Stingray also was partially a nod to the indigenous fish commonly found in Florida waters and the Tampa Bay Rays, whose stadium is a 45-minute drive from the dealership, Hurley says. But with the 2014 Corvette Stingray headed to showrooms by late summer, the commercial tie-in seems prescient.

Stingray also was partially a nod to the indigenous fish commonly found in Florida waters and the Tampa Bay Rays, whose stadium is a 45-minute drive from the dealership, Hurley says.

Hurley says: "We'll be making it really clear in our advertising that the best place to buy the Corvette Stingray is from Stingray Chevrolet."

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