Volvo has been under the ownership of a Chinese automaker for 18 months now but it doesn’t mean that it gets special treatment. In fact, Volvo is still considered by Chinese law to be foreign automaker and is treated much like how General Motors, Ford Motor Co. or German luxury car maker Audi is regarded.
There had been speculations that the government would prioritize the purchase or the building up of the high-end international brands. What this implies is that the Volvo isn’t included in those vehicles that Beijing hopes to supply to its locally branded fleets. It offers a $15 billion market to rivals like FAW and SAIC Motors.
Geely, the parent of Geely Automotive Holdings Ltd., is intent on gaining face. As part of its massive campaign, Volvo has gotten the services of New York Knicks basketball player Jeremy Lin to aid in selling its luxury cars in both China and the U.S., the two largest car markets in the world. Believed to be another milestone of Volvo's revival, Lin said that it has inked a 2-year agreement to come out in advertisements and serve as brand ambassador for Volvo in an endorsement deal.
While this marketing coup is ongoing, Volvo is seeking to raise by its sales in China by more than a quadruple in the next three years. Analysts believe that Lin's branding appeal would aid in the acceleration of sales among the younger generaions.
Freeman Shen, chairman of Volvo Car China operations said in a statement that Jeremy Lin would be an effective endorser as he is the pride of the entire Chinese population.
Volvo considers China to be its third-biggest market. It has set a target to sell up to 200,000 cars in China by 2015 – much higher than the 47,140 units it sold last year. It has set a target to sell 800,000 cars worldwide by 2020.