In the car business these days, the trend is to parcel out information about new products in dribs and drabs. Nobody announces a new product any more; they Tweet about it, try to get a little buzz going, then release a photo and a few details to keep the vibe going. Geely Motors seems to understand this dynamic very well. A few days ago, it let it be known that it is creating a new company known as Lynk & Co. It will manufacture cars that fall somewhere between a Geely and a Volvo (also owned by Geely) in price and appointments. Think of Lynk & Co making the Buick that falls between Chevrolet and Cadillac.
Now we have a face to go with the name. The company on Thursday released official photos of its first offering — a tasteful sport utility equivalent in size to the Hyundai Tucson. Smaller utes are all the rage these days, so Lynk & Co seems to have carefully selected its target market to be cars in one of the hottest market segments.
Under the skin, the Lynk & Co 01 will share its Compact Modular Architecture underpinnings with an upcoming compact Volvo SUV, the XC40. That car was previewed earlier this year as the Volvo 40.1 concept. Geely says it 01 (that’s the car’s only name for the moment) offers full connectivity thanks to an open sourced digital platform developed by Microsoft and Alibaba. The chassis has been designed to score well in all international crash test protocols.
Lynk & Co has designed the 01 to be shared. Owners can generate virtual keys accessed via smartphones to allow the car to be shared with friends or used as a car-share vehicle. Time stamps and geofencing apply to the keys, which can be disabled after a set time or after the car is returned to a particular location. That means your car should be back and parked where you expect to find it when you need it next. A continuous internet connection to the car via Lynk & Co’s cloud services will also allow for live updates on where the car is at all times.
The normal Volvo powertrains will be available in the 01, including several hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric options. A seven speed dual clutch automatic and a manual transmission will be offered depending on which engine the buyer selects. Safety equipment also borrows from the Volvo catalog. Automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, and lane departure warning systems will be available.
Sales will begin in Chna, then spread to Europe and eventually the US. The Geely built Volvo S60 sedan is already imported into the US market. It remains to be seen whether the Lynk & Co brand will attract US buyers. Volvo has a long history in America and enjoys an excellent reputation for luxury transportation in total safety. Whether Geely’s idea to create a new lower priced brand will steal sales away from Volvo or wind up diluting the Volvo brand remains to be seen.
Source: The Motor Report Photo credit: Lynk & Co