DETROIT -- Fewer than one in three Chevrolet dealerships will be eligible to sell the 2014 Corvette Stingray when it begins rolling off the assembly line in late summer.
Last week, General Motors notified about 900 of its roughly 3,000-plus Chevy dealerships that they have met the requirements to sell the redesigned Corvette, a GM spokesman says. Those dealerships can begin ordering 2014 Corvettes in the next few weeks.
GM is limiting allocation to its highest-volume Corvette dealers because it expects demand for the seventh-generation sports car to outstrip production. GM wants to get that limited number of Vettes into the hands of dealers that can best turn them. Those 900 dealerships accounted for 80 percent of Corvette sales in 2012.
Other Chevy dealerships won't be allocated the sports car until at least six to nine months after its launch, the spokesman says. It's unclear whether GM will open Corvette allocation beyond the initial 900 stores during the 2014 model year.
While Corvette is a low-volume model for most Chevy dealers, many lament being left out of the launch of the Stingray. They say the car has star power that generates showroom traffic.
To be eligible to get the Corvette, dealerships had to sell at least four Corvettes during 2012.
"Chevrolet provided dealers with guidance and requirements early in 2012 so dealers would know well in advance whether they would likely receive Corvette models during the initial six to nine months after launch," Russ Clark, Chevrolet marketing director for performance cars, said in a statement.
Stores eligible to order the Stingray still must meet several requirements ahead of the late summer launch.
For example, they must have Corvette Stingray specialists in sales and service.
And those sales specialists must complete a 1 1/2-day training session at the 2014 Corvette Stingray Dealer Sales Academy at Sprint Mountain Motorsports Ranch in Pahrump, Nev. The cost is $2,000 per attendee, excluding travel expenses.
"The Corvette Stingray provides a great opportunity to attract new customers to Chevrolet and your dealership," says the letter, signed by Chevy sales chief Don Johnson and marketing head Chris Perry. "This is a once in a generation opportunity to demonstrate Chevrolet can deliver a beautifully designed, well-engineered, class leading performance car."