Beijing Auto (BAIC) disclosed on Wednesday at a promotional event in Hong Kong that it would hire Nicolas Cage to market its upcoming “Shenbao,” or Senova, cars. The contract-signing ceremony will be held on March 2. A face of several luxury brands and well-liked in China, the US artist is deemed a suitable brand ambassador for the automaker’s newly-established high-end car division.
Besides making him appear in commercials and marketing campaigns, we learned that BAIC considers inserting "Shenbao" in films featuring Nicolas Cage.
"We choose Nicolas Cage as the spokesman for our high-end brand ‘Shenbao’ not only because he is an Oscar-winning actor and a screen legend, but, more importantly, because he has starred in a series of action films about cars. The action elements of Cage match well with Shenbao’s sporty character, which will be a focus in our marketing plans. He is to play in six films this year, which will provide good occasions for promoting Shenbao cars," says an official in BAIC’s marketing department.
In 2009, BAIC bought the Saab production lines for the first-generation 9-3 and 9-5, which had an estimated worth of US$200 million, but did not acquire the right to use the "Saab" brand. Based on the Saab asset, the company launched the "Shenbao" marque and showcased the first model to bear it, the D series, at the 2013 Guangzhou Auto Show.
"Shenbao" is a conventional Chinese name for Saab in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau (in the mainland, Saab is called "Sabo"). By using it, BAIC intends to highlight the Saab origins of its upcoming upscale models.
The Shenbao D series, built in Shunyi, Beijing, is slated for release in the second quarter of 2013.