Jeremy Lin, looking for comfort, reliability, safety, and teammates on the break (Getty Images)
Though New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin sports a particular brand of athletic shoe, and there have been heaps of rumors regarding his first major endorsement announcement following his startling ascension as Knicks savior, he's held off on making any major endorsement announcements. Partly a reflection of his schedule -- the second-year guard has had to fit quite a lot in during his six weeks as an NBA star, helming those flighty Knicks.
So it's with great interest that we can relay to you that Jeremy Lin is due to announce his first major endorsement deal on Monday evening. Starting soon, Lin will become a spokesman for … Volvo?
That's right, Volvo. Boxy, but good (clip features some rude language). The Swedish carmaker is attempting to ride Lin's coattails to stateside success, as well as take a greater hold of the Chinese market; as the automobile-crazy nation buys more cars than any other. Because boxy Buicks currently rule the roost in China, and Lin is of Taiwanese descent, the company thinks it can be in with a chance. We don't blame them.
The symbolism of such a deal would be rich. 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 the country last year, up 54% from 2010.
We don't have any terms of Lin's deal with the car manufacturer to pass along, but this seems like a sound pairing in North American terms. Despite Volvo's staid reputation, the company is a clear middle ground for those looking for a European car with add-ons to behold, without going the more expensive German route. For decades, Volvo's frustration has come in the way that it's had to convince potential buyers that this step-down of sorts was a good thing, and not a cheap thing.
It's a good thing. Apologies for straying away from basketball and acting a shill, but Volvo's C and S-class models are well worth an endorsement in terms of amenities and comfort, while retaining the safety hallmarks that American's have long loved to mock the company over. The styling, turbocharging and five-cylinder engines might strike most car buyers as odd at worst and unorthodox at best, but these are good cars.
And Lin, even taking away his potential influence as Volvo looks to go big in China, seems like the perfect spokesman. We don't want to explicitly spell out the word "y-u-p-p-i-e," but for a young urban professional that wants an interesting car without a BMW lease to worry about, a new Volvo would seem to fit.
It's an odd choice, as his first move into the realm of the major endorser, but one that's as unique as Lin's gifts and move into the NBA's upper strata. Unorthodox-y, but good.
(We're running out of ways to play on words.)
- Jeremy Lin