While sales of new Corvettes nationwide have been down the past few years, there is still one place where America’s Sports Car is as hot as ever.
In fact, you might say Corvettes are selling faster than they can go from 0 to 100 mph in the small town of Williston, North Dakota, population 14,716 in the last Census.
At least if you believe one of the points that stood out in a random summary of “notes of interest from the oil patch” gathered during a recent meeting of the state’s Sheriffs and Deputies Association and sent around the world thanks to the Internet.
No. 29 on that list of 35 points was this: “The Williston General Motors dealership has now become the number-one seller of Corvettes in the upper Midwest.”
Patrick Murphy, who owns the dealership, won’t confirm the actual numbers of ‘Vettes he’s sold but he did tell the Bismarck Tribune that it was “dozens” and says he probably is the No. 1 dealer in a four-state area. “They tell me I’m selling a lot,” he said.
He says he even sold a lot of Corvettes before the current oil boom hit North Dakota, but believes the newfound wealth isn’t the only reason for his success with the hot sports car.
It could be his love of the Corvette; he himself trades up for a new one every year.
“I have a high degree of product knowledge,” he says, “and if someone comes in and they’re buying that $100,000 car, we’re going to talk. They’re going to get a first-class product demonstration.”
Already in the first two months of 2012, he’s sold two new ZR1s, which is nothing to snicker at since they stickered at around $126,000 each.
Murphy says the first sale was not related to the oil boom at all but did admit the second sale was to a man working in the oil field service industry.
The sales manager at Kupper Chevrolet in Bismarck believes Murphy stocks and sells more Corvettes than any dealer in North Dakota.
“Murphy’s got more clientele with more money,” says Kupper’s Keith Feist. “It’s because of where he’s at. He’s got the advantage of people making $125,000 in the oil patch.”
But Feist and Murphy agree that an even bigger seller right now is a much more practical vehicle. “We’ve got the guys 20-25 years old coming from the oil patch, or the 19-year-old making $90,000 buying big diesel pickups,” Feist said. “It’s just crazy.”