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A Bolt of Excitement for Nissan and Its GT-R Supercar

10/19/2012
Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt, the Jamaican-born runner who currently is the fastest man in the world, has signed a deal with Nissan Motor Co. to extend his role as Nissan brand ambassador for the GT-R midsize premium sporty supercar. Nissan has said that the "everyday supercar" also holds a production car lap record at the famous Nurburgring track complex near the village of Nűrburg, Germany.

Bolt, who also has been named honorary director of excitement for the Nissan brand, helped inspire the development of a one-of-a-kind "Bolt performance" gold-painted GT-R for Nissan that will be auctioned on eBay later this month. The sporty 4-passenger coupe, which is made in Japan, will feature Bolt's signature and interior fittings that are finished in gold. Proceeds from the auction will go to the Usain Bolt Foundation to create educational opportunities for young people in Jamaica.

Bolt became a spokesperson for the Nissan brand during this year's London Olympic Games. Currently, the famous athlete will work with Nissan product specialists on a limited-edition GT-R that can be ordered in markets where the GT-R is available. The GT-R has a top speed in excess of 190 mph and accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in just 2.7 seconds, according to Nissan.

Through September of this year, Nissan has sold 968 GT-Rs in the U.S. market, which is down from 1,102 sales in the same 9-month period of 2011, according to J.D. Power research. The GT-R is one of six models in the midsize premium sporty segment, which is led by the best-selling Chevrolet Corvette. Even though GT-R sales have declined this year, the segment's sales are up in double digits (+22.5%) from a year ago.

At the brand level, however, Nissan deliveries in the U.S. market advanced by 11.5% from 2011 to 866,484 unit sales vs. 774,079 units a year ago. The brand's market share was down a fraction of a point to slightly less than 8% through the first 9 months of the year.

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