DETROIT -- The seventh-generation Chevrolet Corvette, scheduled to be unveiled at the auto show here this week, will be in showrooms by late summer. But some Chevy dealers will be left out.
For the first time, General Motors is requiring Chevrolet dealers to meet a sales-volume threshold to carry the Corvette, dealers say. Dealers who failed to sell at least four Corvettes last year -- likely hundreds of Chevy stores -- won't get the 2014 Corvette, several dealers told Automotive News.
"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. Hansen said he sold two Corvettes last year.
Last January, GM told Chevrolet dealers about the new sales requirement. A GM spokesman declined to comment on the company's allocation plans.
Dealers who fell short of the requirement lament that they will be unable to use the new Corvette as showroom eye candy.
"I keep one or two on the lot as showstoppers," says Jim Stutzman, owner of Jim Stutzman Chevrolet-Cadillac in Winchester, Va., who expects to be left off the Corvette allocation list because of low sales last year.
Stutzman, who says he sold as many as 50 Corvettes a year in the 1980s and '90s, says he understands why GM "wants us smaller dealers out of the Corvette market to drive that volume to the metro stores." But he doesn't look forward to telling the first customer who asks about the new Corvette to look elsewhere.
He says: "Being a Chevy dealer and not being able to sell Corvette -- that makes me sad."