The Rio 2016 Olympic Games have officially started!
While motorsports currently aren’t a part of the Olympic Games, cars play a major role in the events and there is one primary automotive sponsor every two years. At this year’s games in Rio de Janeiro, Nissan takes the honors and is supplying 4,200 vehicles to meet the day-to-day mobility needs of the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Here’s a look at what we can expect to see this year, as well as automakers that have sponsored the Olympic Games in the past.
Rio 2016: Nissan Kicks
The all-new Nissan Kicks is the official vehicle of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, a stylish crossover that could be heading to the U.S. Competing with the Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3, the compact crossover is a bit longer and taller than the Juke and has much more traditional styling. Nissan expects to launch the Kicks in more than 80 global markets, but hasn’t confirmed that North America is one of them. There’s also the possibility that the Kicks will just replace the Juke in the near future.
Rio 2016: Nissan Fleet
With about 200 Kicks being present in Brazil for this year’s Olympic Games, Nissan has brought 4,000 other vehicles to the event. This year’s fleet includes the March (also known as the Micra), Versa, Sentra, Altima and Frontier pickup truck.
Sochi 2014: Volkswagen Amarok Polar Expedition
Two years ago, Volkswagen was the official automotive sponsor of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. Arguably the coolest vehicle to come from those Olympic Games was the Volkswagen Amarok Polar Expedition, which it actually built prior to the Olympics to promote the event in Russia’s most remote regions. A total of three custom pickups were built to take nine people on an expedition from Moscow to the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, which was about 9,942 miles away. The team also earned a Guinness World Record for the longest off-road journey through a single country.
Sochi 2014: Volkswagen Fleet
Naturally, the Volkswagen Amarok Polar Expedition wouldn’t be very feasible to be used for day-to-day activities at the Winter Olympic Games. Instead, the Volkswagen Group supplied more than 3,000 Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda and commercial vehicles to the Olympics.
London 2012: BMW Fleet
The last Summer Olympic Games took place in London, but it wasn’t a British automaker headlining the event. Instead, the BMW Group that brought more than 4,000 vehicles to support the athletes. The German automaker focused on fuel economy and low emissions for its fleet, with the most prominent model during the Games being the 320d sedan. The diesel 3 Series made up 1,550 of the overall fleet and was joined by 700 BMW 520d transfer vehicles, 17 X3 xDrive20d SUVs and 10 X5 xDrive30d SUVs. BMW also contributed 25 motorcycles for cycling and other road-based events.
It may seem so long ago, but the 2012 London Olympic Games was also when BMW showcased the 1 Series ActiveE, previewing its electrified future.
London 2012: MINI
As part of the BMW Group, MINI also had a presence in London. The British automaker felt right at home with 200 MINI Cooper “on demand” vehicles that were used at walk-up taxi-style locations, including at Heathrow Airport. There were also 40 MINI E electric vehicles used at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Vancouver 2010: General Motors
For the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games, General Motors provided plenty of vehicles to be used in Canada. More than 4,600 vehicles were used in that fleet, taking athletes, Olympic officials and international VIPs and dignitaries to the events. After the conclusion of the Olympics, the American automaker actually sold off the fleet in Canada, each of which were specially priced and permanently marked with a commemorative Vancouver 2010 medallion adorned with the iconic inukshuk symbol and Olympic rings. GM’s fleet in 2010 included the Chevrolet Equinox, Malibu Hybrid, Impala, Traverse, Suburban and Tahoe; Buick Lucerne and Enclave; Cadillac DTS, CTS Sport Sedan and Sport Wagon, Escalade Hybrid and SRX; as well as the GMC Acadia, Terrain, Yukon and Yukon XL.