The missing Lynk: can Geely SUV crack of Europe?

The launch of a Chinese-made car built to a standard that will give him a real chance in the European market is an important step, but perhaps more interesting is the innovative way in which Geely new Lynk & Co sub-brand intends to operate in Europe when sales start to the end of 2019.

Lynk & Co 01 received 6000 orders in 137 seconds

Behind its grammatically challenging name brand, and its mission to appeal to millennial buyers, Lynk is closely related to the Volvo, with its range of models to be built on the same flexible Compact Modular Architecture (CMA), which underpins models such as the new XC40. Lynk’s first stand-alone product, an SUV named the 01, has just been put on sale in China and will soon be joined by a cross with a low roofline, the 02, and a classic sedan, called the 03.

Lynk & Co 01 prototype review

All use the same three-and four-cylinder gasoline engines, as their Swedish sisters, while the European models will all be powered by a next hybrid powertrain that uses a dual-clutch gearbox and gives the three-pot electric motor assistance. The Ambitions are high, with Lynk & Co boss Alain Visser said the brand plans to sell 500,000 cars per year globally by 2021.

We had to drive the 01 briefly, but can report that it will at least be competitive with the more traditional alternatives when it reaches Europe. Although the car is quite conventional, the company’s wider business model, but nothing. Lynk plans to launch in Europe and the united states without a dealer network, and rely rather on the direct sale, in a manner similar to that of sister brand Polestar.

Notice: will Polestar of the subscription system work?

The cars will be serviced by Volvo franchises, but definitely do not be sold there. While it will be possible to buy Lynk & Co models from the outset, and for what we are promised very competitive price, considering the generous standard equipment, the company is putting its faith behind a pioneer subscription system which will give you more flexibility in the short-term leasing with a minimum of effort, or, as Visser puts it, “like Spotify or Netflix for cars.” The ambition is to see what will in effect be a monthly arrangement, which enables buyers to change their car when they need to. Visser said, the ambition is 70% of Lynk’s European sales to use this subscription model.

This means that Lynk & Co will not only own most of its fleet but also manage them throughout its life. Visser said the plan is to offer two or even three subscription “towers” – the cars return to the company, the obtaining of reprepared, and then rented again that the models used at a lower cost than more recent versions – “like getting an iPhone 7 for cheaper than an iPhone X”. The current thinking is that at the end of these rental cycles, cars will eventually be abandoned rather than sold. This means that one of the biggest problems for any new, unproven business that management of the residual values – will be overflowing, it is true, by Lynk keeping significant costs on its own books.

Volvo and Lynk&Co, plug-in hybrid tech for the launch in 2018

Plans for a smartphone app that will allow other users access to the car, or make it possible for users to share ownership, will also make the subscription model more, such as car sharing as a conventional lease arrangement. Lynk is also bucking industry trends by the project to conduct an inventory of each model, rather than building to order. The latter would result in large delays due to the distance to the Luqiao plant where the 01 is built. That means a stripped-fork and no options.

Visser said the plan is eight variants of the 01 in Europe – including the colours, and only three prizes. “All the cars will actually be in stock,” explains the head of the company. “There will be no waiting; if you want, you can drive the same day.” There is still time for things to change before the brand’s official launch in Europe, but if Lynk is able to deliver its plans, it could have the disruptive influence of the height of its start-up ambition.

Driving Lynk & Co is the First Car

The chinese media, the events are not like the European, at our sole chance to drive the 01 being the unlikely environment of Geely in Ningbo race circuit.

For a large and not particularly athletic SUV, it has stood up well to the challenge, but it is fair to say that the final verdict will have to wait a little longer.

The 01 quality impresses. Although some of the cabin materials feel cheap when inspected up close – including a fair amount of what looks like metal but is actually plastic – it all feels durable and well screwed together. The space is good, especially in the back, and standard equipment is generous: all versions will get a 10.2 in touch screen and digital instrument clusters.

Our test cars used a Chinese-made version of Volvo’s 2.0-litre Drive-E petrol turbo in 188bhp tune, an engine that will not be coming to Europe. He would gladly, but manifested itself when worked hard, and the six-speed torque converter automatic for the front-drive version lacked of willingness when asked to respond quickly.

The all-wheel-drive version is much more intelligent dual-clutch automatic gearbox, which will also be coupled with the innovative three-cylinder hybrid powertrain, which is set to come with the European version of the 01. The manipulation of the balance on the rails was foreseeable to the nose, but the refinement seemed to be good and, apart from juddering brakes, the 01-tolerated, the abuse of property.

Read our full review of the Lynk & Co 01 prototype here

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Lynk & Co 01 received 6000 orders in 137 seconds

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Lynk & Co 01 prototype review

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