Geely Auto Group – which also owns Volvo – has launched a new car brand with global ambitions called LYNK & CO
Designed and engineered in Sweden, LYNK & CO says it is introducing a new business model, ‘with the ambition to challenge the conventions of the automobile industry’. Describing the new brand as 'born digital' - with an open API (a publicly available application programming interface) and personalised services - there will also be the first dedicated app store for cars.
The first model in the range is the 01, a 'tech-laden' SUV built on Volvo's Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) - capable of accommodating many body styles and which also underpins Volvo’s new compact car range. Alain Visser, Senior Vice President of LYNK & CO said: “This is LYNK & CO – introducing a premium, state-of-the-art range of cars – at the most accessible of price points, challenging and redesigning every link in the chain. Our aim is to enrich and simplify car ownership by redefining how they are bought, owned, connected, serviced and used.”
The 01 will be followed by 02, 03 and so on, as a full range – reflecting the brand’s idea of simplifying and challenging industry conventions, right down to model names. Abandoning the traditional concept of base models and long option list, inspired by the fashion and technology sectors, LYNK & CO has replaced trim levels and option lists with a simple selection of ‘fully equipped’, fixed-price ‘collections’ - themed to meet customer preferences.
The Global Design Language was penned in Sweden at the Geely Design Sweden, part of Geely Design Global, and led by Executive VP of Design Peter Horbury with support from studios in Shanghai, Barcelona and Los Angeles.
The design brief was simple: the cars should stand out from the crowd and appeal to a truly global audience. From a distance, Geely says it has a European design approach. Intricate lights and a strong wide grille completes the distinctive ‘face’ of the car.
The new 01 will be available with a range of ultra-efficient powertrains. Allowing for fuel economy figures and performance 'among the best in their class', a seven-speed double-clutch transmission (DCT) will be available across the line-up and help with efficiency, alongside a manual gearbox. All models will offer electrified powertrains.
Engineering and technology for the new range has been developed under CEVT (China Euro Vehicle Technology), the shared Geely and Volvo research and innovation centre. Engineers with ‘decades of experience at some of the world’s best car manufacturers’ developed the new range of models, while the choice of powertrains are described as ‘strong, lightweight, efficient, fun to drive and packed full of technology.’
At the heart of the new brand is connectivity - customers will find a range of connected technologies on offer in all vehicles, with a large central touchscreen and telematics systems that are always connected to the internet and the car’s own cloud.
The car has a share button, enabling the owner to provide others with access to the vehicle via a shareable digital key. Via the LYNK & CO app they control, monitor and share their car from a smartphone – or directly from the car.
While other car brands are undergoing a digital transformation, LYNK & CO says it is ‘born digital’. The lack of legacy systems and the ability to build solutions in the cloud enable the new brand to depart from the old model of car sales and service to bring the customer through an 'omnichannel platform', with interaction at every point – from researching and purchase and all the way through to owning, sharing, servicing and re-selling.
With all models sold online or in stores in strategic retail locations, and with fixed and transparent prices, the cars will be delivered and picked up for service, directly at the door of the consumer. New solutions for car usage and access will be offered – from traditional ownership and leasing to subscription and sharing-membership.
The new 01 and all future models will draw on the ‘expertise and legacy’ of Volvo’s safety history. All new models are developed to meet the latest top rating for China, European and US public domain safety ratings. As well as all its passive safety features, the 01 will feature Forward Collision Warning (FCW) and Autonomous Emergency Brake (AEB), Pedestrian Detection with automatic emergency braking, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Blind Spot Detection (BSD) and Lane Departure Warning (LDW) to name just some of its active safety systems.
The Geely owned company says traditional distribution costs are typically in the region of 25 percent of the price of a car, so the new business model promises significant savings, reflected in ‘highly competitive pricing’.
The 01 will go on sale in China in 2017, followed by Europe and the U.S. Prices have yet to be announced.