Players at Manchester United are electing to drive their own cars, despite the fact that there’s a fleet of high performance Chevrolets on offer.
In the middle of 2012, GM’s mainstream Chevrolet marque signed a deal to be Manchester United’s principal shirt sponsor from the beginning of the 2014-15 English Premier League season. The deal is said to be worth US$559 million ($647 million) over seven years, or roughly US$60 million ($92 million) per season.
As part of the deal, which dwarfs the previous 20 million pound ($37 million) per year arrangement with insurance firm AON, Chevrolet supplied a fleet 15 vehicles, including Camaros and Corvette Stingrays, free for United’s staff to use.
Last week, photographers working for the Daily Mail photographed a number of United’s star footballers continuing to use their own vehicles. Among them were striker Robin van Persie in his Porsche Panamera, captain Wayne Rooney in his Overfinch-modified Range Rover, assistant manager Ryan Giggs in his Range Rover and midfielder Marouane Fellaini in a Mercedes-Benz ML-Class.
Manager Louis van Gaal does drive a Chevrolet Captiva, although it is his own vehicle, thought to be unrelated to the sponsorship deal.
According to a United source who spoke to the English newspaper, the free Chevrolet fleet has been shunned by the team’s wealthy footballers. Instead, it’s the training ground staff who make use of the supplied vehicles.
In response, a Chevrolet spokesperson told the Daily Mail that the cars were supplied as part of a “voluntary drive program” and that players were not required to drive the sponsor’s vehicles.
As others have noted, part of the reluctance from players to embrace the fleet of high performance Chevys may boil down to the fact that both the Camaro and Corvette are currently only available in left-hand drive.
GM announced late in 2013 that it was pulling the Chevrolet brand out of most European markets, including the UK, by the end of 2015.