Chevrolet took the surprising step of inserting a relegation clause into their seven-year shirt sponsorship deal with Manchester United.
United have been looking at potential new sponsors, with the American car manufacturer General Motors unlikely to renew their £59million-a-year contract that runs down at the end of next season.
The agreement signed in 2012, before Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement, included financial protection should United suffer an unthinkable relegation to the Championship.
United declined to comment. A spokesman said: ‘Chevrolet is a fantastic partner and we will continue to work with them to activate and maximise the sponsorship.’ It is believed that Aon, the previous principal sponsors from 2010-2014, did not include any such stipulations.
United have sacked three managers – David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho – during Chevrolet’s association with them.
The indifferent league performances have left GM bosses unimpressed with their heavy investment.
Chevrolet are only the fifth shirt sponsor in United’s history and club officials are confident that their sixth will financially eclipse it.
A number of major brands have expressed interest already and executive vice chairman Ed Woodward will pump that money into squad improvement.
‘We are immensely proud of our partnership with Manchester United,’ a Chevrolet spokesman said.
‘Since we became partners in 2012, the sponsorship has had a significant and positive impact on the Chevrolet business driving awareness for us in our key markets and has inspired and empowered millions of people through our activation programmes where the club is one of the most recognised brands.
‘We look forward to continuing to work together closely to activate and maximise the sponsorship.’