New car brands don’t come around every day, and when they do, they never launch with a real, honest-to-God, physical car at the ready. I should say “almost never,” as Chinese automaker Geely’s collaboration with Volvo has already yielded automotive fruit.
That comes as a relief after the company told us to “think beyond the car.” Sure, Lynk & Co’s marketing hype is still omnipresent, but now there is something tangible to attach it to.
Automotive News tells us the compact SUV is called 01 and will be a hybrid, powered by a 1.5 liter three-cylinder gasoline engine paired with an electric motor. The little crossover also rides on the Compact Modular Architecture platform, which it shares with its sibling from Sweden, the upcoming XC40.
Currently, transmission options include a manual or a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic.
Lynk & Co is also building a 2.0-liter inline four. Both it and the 1.5-liter engine will be built in China with technology on loan from Volvo. The company also plans to add a compact sedan and other models to its fleet using the shared platform with Volvo.
While there’s no actual numbers being tossed around, Lynk & Co says it wants to keep vehicle prices low through a sales and distribution model based on online retailing and direct sales from its own stores. Avoiding the large distribution fees associated with dealerships should offer significant savings, according to the company. Lynk wants to go as far as delivering the 01 directly to the buyer’s home, and picking it up from the owner for servicing.
“Our aim is to enrich and simplify car ownership by re-defining how cars are bought, owned, connected, serviced and used,” Alain Visser, Lynk’s senior vice president, said in a statement.
How this can work in the U.S. — where many states have strict provisions against direct-to-consumer car sales — is unknown. Lynk also plans to keep prices down by offering a set number of vehicle trims to minimize build configurations and lower its manufacturing costs.
As for the accuracy of its “born digital” slogan, the company has been working with Microsoft and Alibaba to create a digital customer infrastructure, while Ericsson has helped design a car-connectivity cloud. All models will come with a large central console and be permanently connected to the Internet and its own inter-vehicle cloud network. This allows the owner to provide others with access to the vehicle using a shareable digital key. Owners can then use the Lynk app to control and monitor their car from a smartphone, tablet, or computer.
The Lynk & Co 01 will arrives in the Chinese market in 2017, followed by Europe and the United States.
[Images: Lynk & Co]