The hype surrounding New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin may be fading, but Volvo apparently believes the benchwarmer-turned-phenom's popularity still has staying power.
That's why Chinese-owned Volvo chose the Taiwanese-American Lin to become its worldwide corporate and marketing activities brand ambassador -- with a focus on the U.S., China and Chinese-speaking areas of Asia -- for the next two years. The announcement was made at a press conference in New York on Monday.
The foundation the company is built upon, what they stand for, is very in line with what I believe in and how I grew up as a person, said Lin. For me, growing up, I never had the super luxurious cars or watches or whatever it may be. To be able to find a car company that has high quality but is also affordable and relatable is very important to me.
For the 23-year-old point guard, Volvo becomes one of his first major corporate deals. Lin already has an agreement with Nike, which was reached when he was a rookie and has since been extended with the possibility of a Lin-themed sneaker being released.
The symbolism of such a deal is rich. The formerly Swedish Volvo is now owned by China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. The company is trying to boost Volvo sales in China as part of a strategy to double the brand's global sales to 800,000 vehicles by 2020. Geely plans to invest up to $11 billion in the effort. Volvo sold about 47,000 cars in China last year, up 54 percent from 2010.
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According to CBS News, Volvo said its first commercials with Lin may appear as early as June.
At the end of that day, this was a great decision and a great match for me, Lin said. Hopefully, I can along with Volvo inspire young kids to pursue their dreams, whether it's education or sports, and hopefully we can be a good role model.