Volvo, the once prideful wholly Swedish car now owned by Chinese automaker Geely, has signed American Jeremy Lin, the high energy star of the New York Knicks whose parents were born in China, to a global brand endorsement contract.
Volvo detailed at a press conference that Lin's participation as a brand ambassador in advertising and marketing campaigns during the next two years will focus on the U.S., China and Chinese-language markets in Asia.
"You may not immediately see the connection between me and Volvo, but both of us are striving to be better and smarter at what we do, and to do it our own way,” Lin said at a news conference. “I hope that my efforts will inspire more young people to follow their ambitions in sports and education, just like Volvo Car Corp. is designing cars around people's ambitions in life."
Lin, 23, a former bench warmer who was cut from two NBA teams, became a national phenomenon in February with several epic performances as a surprising starter that helped the Knicks win seven straight games.
Lin's stellar performances spanned the name "Linsanity." The moniker hasn't been appropriate lately. The Knicks lost six straight games and the team's coach, Mike D'Antoni, then resigned. When former starting guard Carmelo Anthony returned from an injury, Lin received less playing time. The Knicks have also recovered from their losing ways and have won three straight games.
Freeman Shen, president of Volvo Cars China, called the deal “a significant moment in the history of Volvo Car Corp.'s brand rejuvenation.”
“For our region, Jeremy Lin is the pride of the whole Chinese population, and we are excited to work with him,” he said.
Article Last Updated: March 19, 2012.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.