Volvo ‘in talks’ with NBA superstar Jeremy Lin

Swedish auto manufacturer Volvo Cars is reportedly in talks with Asian-American basketball star Jeremy Lin in hopes he will endorse their product and bring greater awareness of Volvo in China.

Volvo 'in talks' with NBA superstar Jeremy Lin

According to the Bloomberg news agency, sources have revealed that Lin and Volvo are in “advanced negotiations” after reaching a preliminary agreement.

Lin, 23, has shot to sports stardom in what has been labelled as a “Lin-derella story” – rising out of “back-up to the back-up” bench-time oblivion and into the spotlights of New York city’s Madison Square Garden.

When the New York Knicks big name players became injured, 190 centimetre Lin took to the floor and took over, leading the struggling Knicks to a seven game winning streak last month, including outscoring Kobe Bryant with a career high 38 points in a win against the LA Lakers.

Now, Volvo is in talks with Lin in for an endorsement contract.

The Swedish car manufacturer, owned by China’s Zhejiang Geely, has noticed the potential market value of Lin to Chinese customers, after the so-called “Linsanity” has swept American fans off their feet and created a resurgence in the Knicks’ fanbase.

Lin, whose parents are of Taiwanese decent, is one of a handful of Asian-Americans to enter the National Basketball Association (NBA), something Volvo wants to capitalize on as they expand into China.

China is Volvo’s fastest-growing market, and it is looking to double the sales of its vehicles in the next ten years, according to Bloomberg.

Attempts by The Local to reach Volvo in Sweden for comment were unsuccessful.

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Sweden’s Volvo regains strength after pandemic puts brakes on earnings

Swedish truck maker Volvo Group was hit by a sharp drop in earnings due to the coronavirus pandemic, but business rebounded at the end of the year.

Sweden's Volvo regains strength after pandemic puts brakes on earnings
Volvo Group CEO Martin Lundstedt. Photo: Adam Ihse/TT

In 2020, the group saw “dramatic fluctuations in demand” due to the Covid-19 pandemic, chief executive Martin Lundstedt said in a statement.

For 2021, Volvo raised its sales forecasts in its trucks division – its core business – in Europe, North America and Brazil.

However, it said it also expected “production disturbances and increased costs” due to a “strained” supply chain, noting a global shortage of semiconductors across industries.

The truck making sector is particularly sensitive to the global economic situation and is usually hard hit during crises.

In March, as the pandemic took hold around the world, Volvo suspended operations at most of its sites in 18 countries and halted production at Renault Trucks, which it owns, in Belgium and France.

Operations gradually resumed mid-year, but not enough to compensate for the drop in earnings.

With annual sales down 22 percent to 338 billion kronor (33.4 billion euros, $40 billion), the group posted a 46 percent plunge in net profit to 19.3 billion kronor (1.9 billion euros).

Operating margin fell from 11.5 to 8.1 percent.

However, the group did manage to cut costs by 20 percent.

“We have significantly improved our volume and cost flexibility, which were crucial factors behind our earnings resilience in 2020,” the group said.

Volvo's business regained strength in the second half of the year.

“Customer usage of trucks and machines increased when the Covid-19 restrictions were eased during the summer and this development continued during both the third and fourth quarters,” it said.

“Both the transport activity and the construction business are back at levels on par with the prior year in most markets.”

For the fourth quarter alone, the company reported a 38-percent rise in net profit from a year earlier.