SOUTHFIELD, Michigan -- General Motors is preparing to make a marketing announcement between its Chevrolet brand and the UK's Manchester United soccer team. The carmaker recently announced it will stop advertising on Facebook and in the U.S. Super Bowl.
GM has invited reporters to an announcement by Chevrolet and Manchester United in Shanghai on Thursday.
Joel Ewanick, GM's chief marketing officer, will subsequently hold a briefing at the company's Detroit headquarters about a Chevrolet global sports marketing initiative.
A sponsorship deal would allow GM to promote its Chevrolet brand through Manchester United, the record 19-times English soccer champions. The team has huge support in Asia and is traveling to China to play two exhibition matches during the off-season.
Manchester United's 659 million followers make it the world's "most popular club," according to a study carried out for the team by market research company Kantar last year, when the club won the Premier League. In the study, 54,000 people in 39 countries were asked which team -- or teams -- they followed.
"Our followers have doubled in five years," Manchester United's commercial director Richard Arnold told reporters in London on Tuesday. "It's important to the club, not only for commercial partnerships: It gives us a road map to understand exactly what's going on."
Chevrolet sold a record 4.76 million vehicles globally last year, led by demand for its Cruze compact sedan.
While the brand is big in the United States, it has low recognition in Europe. In the first four months, Chevrolet car sales rose nearly 14 percent to 67,888 in the EU and EFTA countries, giving the brand a 1.5 percent market share, according industry association ACEA.
Source: Bloomberg, Automotive News Europe