Good morning and welcome to Saturday in Australia. So tell me, have you heard about Geely? It’s another Chinese Auto Manufacturer, but unlike most of the others, (think Chery, Great Wall, SAIC,) this one owns Volvo. So they’ve purchased some credibility early on. Now have a look at this picture. What does it look like to you? To me, it’s got some Porsche Cayenne about it, some BMW X Series but it’s called a Lynk. So the Chinese, so good at copying design on the outside, but so bad at replicating the reliability and commercialisation on the inside, may have got this one, or at least the intent right. Thanks to our colleagues at www.autoweek.com for the story that follows.
In a presentation that featured a beatboxer named Shlomo, an orchestra with a DJ, a Chinese drum line, another DJ, exhibitional bartending and three or four uses of the term “smartphone on wheels,” the brand Geely Auto Group sub-brand Lynk, introduced its first vehicle, a compact crossover called the 01.
Based on Volvo Compact Modular Architecture (or CMA for short), Lynk & Co’s cars and SUVs are designed for the near future of personal transportation, whatever that future may hold. There’s a button that lets others know your car is available for sharing. Virtual keys can be sent to friends via an app, which also allows you to activate and deactivate keys, or set a specific time where a person’s key will work. The company repeatedly called the 01 the most “connected” car in the world. In order to take advantage of always-on internet connectivity, all Lynk & Co cars will feature an open API, meaning that third parties will be able to design applications in HTML5 that will make the car more useful and enjoyable to operate.
Geely/Volvo design boss Peter Horbury will oversee the styling of Lynk & Co models, with Lynk & Co head designer Andreas Nilsson directing studios in LA, Shanghai and Barcelona. As you can see in the gallery above, the 01 is a mostly novel take on the now-ubiquitous compact crossover form.
Since Lynk & Co is a sister brand to Volvo, it has full access to all the tech developed by the Swedish automaker — such as the CMA platform.
The company didn’t reveal much about the 01’s powertrain beyond saying that hybrid, plug-in hybrid and (eventually) full-EV options will be available. There will also be a manually shifted transmission, as well as a seven-speed DCT. There will be no options, only “collections” of fully equipped cars that are packaged and updated to meet consumer trends, though not necessarily on a yearly basis. Pricing hasn’t been announced, but the cars are expected to be inexpensive.
Further, Lynk & Co says it will offer both a subscription service and a ride-sharing program, as well as traditional leasing and purchasing routes. As it stands, the plan is to sell Lynk & Co cars directly without a traditional dealership, though the brand will likely have some physical locations to facilitate test drives. That obviously presents some regulatory hurdles in the U.S. market, and the firm is still in the very early stages of planning how its proposed business model will be adapted to work in the States.
From the outside, the car looks mostly production ready, though much about the new company’s proposed business model seems a little unsettled. The brand hopes to capitalize on being launched as a connectivity-focused, future-oriented company, while every other automaker has to adapt to changing consumer demands. At the launch, Lynk & Co executives were refreshingly candid about what they haven’t yet hammered out and were eager to discuss a number of mostly plausible-sounding possibilities for the future of their business.
Geely plans to launch Lynk & Co in China in 2017 and will roll it out in other countries — including the United States — at a later date.
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