In July 2012 Chevrolet signed a seven year, US$556 million (£350 million) sponsorship deal with English soccer club Manchester United. Starting this year, the bow-tie logo appeared on the team’s shirts, replacing former sponsor Aeon.
Part of the deal was supplying the club with 15 free cars in order to gain free publicity. According to a Daily Mail report, the team’s star footballers, such as captain Wayne Rooney and star striker Robin van Persie, have snub Chevy’s free rides in favor of their own.
Mind you, the cars were anything but ordinary. In fact, they are Corvette Stingrays and Chevrolet Camaros! Still, the only one seen with a Chevy is the team’s Dutch manager Louis van Gall though it’s a Captiva SUV that (oh the irony!) he has purchased himself!
So far, the players use their Porsches, Range Rovers and other high-end vehicles to go and leave from training. That’s bad news for the US carmaker but good news for United’s training ground staff, who get to use the American sports cars.
A Chevrolet spokesman confirmed the fact, adding though that the deal was a “voluntary drive program” and the players are not obliged in any way to drive its cars.
A few years back Italian club Juventus, which is owned by the Agnielli family that also owns Fiat, forbid the players to enter the club’s parking lot unless they were driving one of the group’s cars supplied to them. Unlike the United stars, though, they weren’t given any high-end sports cars such as Ferraris or Maseratis but Fiats and Lancias – so at least one could understand their reluctance to give up their posh drives…
By Andrew Tsaousis