Former Manchester United captain Bryan Robson (left) and current star Ryan Giggs

Former Manchester United captain Bryan Robson (left) and current star Ryan Giggs

Chevrolet is hitting the accelerator on plans to promote its name to a global audience by signing on as the official automotive sponsor of one of the most widely-recognized soccer clubs, Manchester United.

Though part of the English Premier League, Manchester United has scores of dedicated fans all over the globe, particularly in Asia where the club’s popularity continues to grow rapidly.

According to club officials, there are about 659 million Manchester United fans worldwide today.

Chevrolet has entered a five-year deal with the club, with a view for extension if the deal turns out successful for both parties.

“Manchester United has some of the most passionate supporters of any sporting club in the world,” GM’s global marketing chief Joel Ewanick said at an announcement in Shanghai, China, earlier today. “The Chevrolet family is proud to partner with Manchester United and is fully committed to putting these fans at the center of everything we do.”

No financial terms of the deal have been mentioned, though we know that Chevrolet parent General Motors is likely to have some extra marking dollars on hand after it announced it was pulling out from advertising on Facebook and even during the Super Bowl.

In recent years GM has taken steps to reposition Chevy as its global nameplate by launching more bowtie-badged cars in overseas markets, expanding Chevy’s production base into more countries and using it to replace the Daewoo brand. Now, we can also add an expansion of global marketing efforts to that list.

It seems that GM’s plans to take Chevy global is working as the brand last year sold a record 4.76 million vehicles in more than 140 countries.