By on June 28, 2017

INFINITI and Stephen Curry announce global partnership - Image: InfinitiIn the world of celebrity pitchmen, there’s a big leap between, oh, Jared Fogle at Subway, for example, and Andy Murray at Jaguar.

In the world of basketball’s best, there’s less of a gap between LeBron James and Stephen Curry.

Now combine the world of celebrity pitchmen with the world of NBA superstars. LeBron James quite famously falls under the Kia umbrella.

But what automaker wouldn’t want the best player on the reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors? Steph Curry, Nissan’s premium division announced today, is the new global ambassador at Infiniti.

Steph Curry will first be featured in an ad campaign for the revamped 2018 Infiniti Q50 this summer.

Infiniti chose Steph Curry for obvious reasons. With LeBron already taken, is there any current NBA star that draws more positive attention than Curry? He was the NBA league MVP in 2015 and 2016, the best player on the winningest team in NBA history in the latter year, and the only player to ever win the MVP award unanimously. He is the most prodigious three-point shooter in history and succeeds despite an un-NBA-like physique.

Perhaps there’s some symmetry with Infiniti, then, or at least with what Nissan’s upmarket brand wants to be. Like Curry, Infiniti is also relatively young and relatively small.

But while Steph Curry is routinely breaking NBA records, Infiniti is simply breaking its own records. 2016 was the brand’s best global sales year ever; the best year for the brand in the United States, as well. At the current rate of growth — Infiniti sales are up 24 percent in the U.S. so far this year — 2017 will smash last year’s sales record thanks to a huge increase from the new Q60 coupe, the arrival of the Benz-based QX30, and meaningful growth from the QX70 and QX80.

Nevertheless, Infiniti is no Don Draper-voiced Mercedes-Benz, where U.S. sales are more than twice as strong. Indeed, Infiniti doesn’t have the prestige of Tom Brady’s Aston Martin.

So why did Steph Curry choose Infiniti? (Besides money, we mean.) According to Infiniti’s press release, “Infiniti is a brand that I’ve known and admired because of its strong heritage of performance, design and groundbreaking technologies,” Curry says. “I’m drawn to their brand values and passion for their craft and thrilled to be working with Infiniti to help tell stories of people who are driven to do more to realize their potential.”

How will Curry perform as a pitchman? He’s done plenty of this kind of work, for China’s Vivo phones and in partnership with Serena Williams for Chase as examples, in the past.

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and and the founder and former editor of Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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20 Comments on “Kia Has Lebron, Now the Global Ambassador at Infiniti Is Steph Curry...”

  • avatar

    Not sure much can be done to save this brand. When they embraced FWD MB clones, I knew the end was near.

  • avatar

    I seriously have no idea who Stephen Curry is, so there’s that. I *do* know who Lebron James is and I wonder why Lebron didn’t say to himself “I’m already mega rich and super famous, might it hurt my standing to schlep for Hamster Motors™ as opposed to Mercedes et al?”

    • 0 avatar

      So why does this minor rant matter? I am very much in the target demographic for Infiniti and I am not the only one in this demo who has never heard of or is not very familiar with your new spokesman.

      • 0 avatar
        Adam Tonge

        “Come on over here and buy a Lincoln instead. Alright, alright.”

        -Matthew McConaughey-

        And Matt does drive a Navigator.

      • 0 avatar

        Infiniti demographic is the upscale 18-45 age category same as Cadillac. Mercedes is 25-55 years old. BMW is 18-50 year old. Jaguar is 25-60 year. Lexus is 18-55 year old. Audi is 30-65 year. Land Rover is 25-70 year old.

      • 0 avatar

        So you don’t watch basketball. We get it. :P

        • 0 avatar

          Yup ;). My larger point is though I don’t I do know who Lebron, Shaq, Michael Jordan, and new Secy of State Dennis Rodman “are” so to speak. Maybe Mr. Curry will become better known to the masses in the near future?

  • avatar

    Curious to know if any of these guys actually drive these cars they are endorsing. I suspect they don’t. I know Tiger Woods was a big Buick shill, but I always wondered if he actually drove them. He does seem to treat Cadillac Escalades pretty rough. “Hello, I’m Tiger Woods. When I want to drive impaired and anticipate hitting a few bushes or a fire hydrant, I always choose an Escalade, cause these things are tough”.

  • avatar

    TIL that Infiniti still makes cars. I guess it’s working.

  • avatar

    You`ve got to put Jill Wagner on your list.

  • avatar

    I don’t really care about spokesmen, and I’m only a casual fan of basketball, but Steph Curry is such a likeable guy I’d at least watch the ads he’s in. Can’t think of many guys with a more positive image….

    • 0 avatar

      Being a lifelong Virginian, I remember watching his father Dell light it up for VA Tech back when I was in high school. Too bad there was no 3-point line in college hoops back then. It’s pretty cool to see his son become so successful at the same sport all these years later.

  • avatar

    It’s funny, my split-second first thought when I saw the headline was “Why does that Kia look so cheap?” Oh, cuz it’s an Infiniti. Man their designs have fallen. ZZZZZ….

  • avatar

    Lebron and Kia are an obvious pairing, representing respectively the official sport and car of the past due notice. But Infiniti? Their most successful product, and only successful product, is whichever QX it is that corresponds to the Pathfinder.

    The soccer moms who drive them do so only because they can’t quite swing a MDX and I doubt that any of them know who Steph Curry is.

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