Volvo Cars has signed New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin to a global endorsement deal and will announce details March 19 at a press conference at Chelsea Piers in New York City.
Volvo is owned by China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co.
According to a statement from Volvo, Mr. Lin "is expected to help in the marketing efforts of Volvo in several international markets and help establish the brand with younger and performance-oriented customers."
There's been speculation in recent weeks that the 23-year-old Mr. Lin, who was born in the U.S. of Taiwanese immigrant parents, was negotiating with Volvo and that he would be the focus of an ad campaign for the brand's increasingly important Chinese auto market. Volvo hopes to double its global sales to 800,000 by 2020; it sold about 47,000 cars in China last year.
In an interview in Germany in September, Volvo's VP-Global Marketing Richard Monturo said the company is focusing on social media and digital. "We think the primary device in auto marketing is the internet," said Mr. Monturo. "We have teams focusing on how we can upgrade the user experiences in all our social presences. We're using the 'designed around you' idea but trans-creating around the world."
Mr. Lin may fit with that strategy. The 6-foot, 3-inch guard, who ascended to NBA fame amid an eruption of "Linsanity," blogs in both Mandarin and English. His Twitter feed has more than 664,000 followers.
Volvo, which had been owned by Ford Motor Co.before it was bought in 2010 by Geely, has long been known in the U.S. for its emphasis on safety and reliability, and its station wagons became a symbol of suburban affluence in the 1980s.
Mr. Lin was signed by the Knicks late last year after appearing in 29 games with Golden State. In his 12 starts before the All-Star break, Mr. Lin averaged 22 .5 points and 8.7 assists, and New York had a 9-3 record. This past Saturday , Mr. Lin scored 19 points to help defeat the Indiana Pacers, 102-88, under the team's interim coach, Mike Woodson.