Dealer’s Revenge: ‘Dave Or Bust!’

Connor Ryan believes in what he sells, and he’s willing to face off with David Letterman to prove it.
Ryan, a Hyundai salesman from Missoula, Mont., was unimpressed by the comedian’s recent joke comparing Hyundais to the Russian Mir space station. So, on March 12, he took off for New York to challenge Letterman to test drive a Hyundai. He made the trip to the Big Apple in a silver Hyundai Tiberon emblazoned with a makeshift slogan, “Dave or bust!”
“How do you respond to someone who makes you the butt of their jokes? Have fun, make a point,” said Dan Zukowski of Hyundai public relations firm Rogers & Associates in Los Angeles.
The stunt did draw a large following. Ryan made daily phone and Web site updates, including a Letterman-style list of the top 10 ways a Hyundai is better than Mir. The list included: Mir won’t fit into a compact spot. “Fully loaded” on Mir refers to the cosmonaut’s blood alcohol level. And the No. 1 reason: There is no chance that a Hyundai will fall on your house.
When Ryan arrived at Broadway’s Ed Sullivan Theater, where Letterman’s CBS program The Late Show is taped, over 1,000 people gathered to support him.
Ryan wasn’t welcomed by Letterman, but was happy he made the trip. “I had the time of my life, but now I’ve got to go back to Missoula and sell a few cars,” he said.
Zukowski was also pleased. “One of our goals is to invigorate the enthusiasm of employees and Hyundai owners … to communicate to consumers about the personality of Hyundai,” he said.