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Chevy hikes price of 2014 Corvette

Chris Woodyard and James R. Healey, USA TODAY on April 26, 2013 at 1:28 PM

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One of the year's most important new cars just got a price: The 2014 Corvette Stingray will start at $51,995, including $995 in delivery charges, Chevy says.

That's a $1,400 bump from the $50,495 base price of the current Corvette, also including destination charges.

Considering how the model raised pulses as the star of this year's North American International Auto Show, that price is coming in at level that would be considered affordable in the segment. General Motors officials certainly sound proud of it.

"The Corvette Stingray delivers a combination of performance, design and technology that very few manufacturers can match, and none can even come close for $52,000," says Chris Perry, vice president, Chevrolet marketing.

Chevrolet has been anxious to try to rebuild sales  not mention excitement  about one of its most famous models. Corvette chief engineer Tadge Juechter said in January that with the new model, "we expect to get back to normal volumes of 30,000" annually. That'll be a big jump. Last year, Corvette sales were just 14,132, up 7.4% from 2011's 13,164, according to Autodata.

For their money, buyers of the new 'Vette will get a hot little two-seater with a giant 6.2-liter LT1 V-8 engine coupled to a seven-speed automatic transmission. The car has an aluminum frame that makes it 99 pounds lighter and 57% stiffer than the outgoing version, Chevy says.

Of course, the starting price may get lookers in the door, but they are sure to start loading up their Corvette with tantalizing goodies.

The crimson car that debuted at the auto show, for instance, would have gone for $73,360 with options like an $8,005 leather interior package, $2,495 sport seats, $1,995 carbon-fiber roof panel and $595 for brake calipers that are painted red.

The current Corvette costs about $60,000 by the time owners pack on their favorite features, with more powerful versions costing up to twice as much.

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