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.
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.