By on April 19, 2017

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Unlike the majority of Chinese automakers looking to the West, Lynk & Co seemed well-poised to bring a physical product to America — even though it had a share-based business model and a distribution plan that seemed counterintuitive. However, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group has announced that it is delaying Lynk & Co’s product launch for Europe and the United States.

The reasoning behind the stall revolves around that unconventional distribution model, which initially involves online ordering and at-home deliveries. Zhejiang Geely now feels that Lynk needs more time to cultivate a company-owned dealership network. 

“We think we will start in Europe between the first quarter and the first half of 2019 and enter the U.S. some months later,” Alain Visser, Lynk & CO’s senior vice president of marketing and sales, told Automotive News at the Shanghai auto show.

The original plan was to launch its 01 compact crossover into both markets by 2018 and see if it was worth putting money behind the exportation of its brand new 03 sedan (and whatever the 02 ends up being). As Lynk & Co’s entire lineup rides on the compact modular platform that Geely developed in cooperation with Volvo, whether or not the company opts to produce its models alongside Volvo in Belgium might be a good indicator of how seriously it is taking its European involvement.

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While it’s not fair to accuse Zhejiang Geely of not having sincere intentions, Chinese automakers haven’t really delivered on their Western promises lately. But Lynk has largely stuck to its guns on how it wants to handle things. It still plans to offer all of its vehicles with the ability to be shared by the owner when not in use, via a proprietary app, and has maintained that it will be offering a lifetime warranty and free connectivity as standard features.

It also wants to remain focused on internet-based sales, but is beginning to acknowledge that having a dealer network might not be a bad idea. While servicing and parts could be handled by Volvo service centers, Lynk & Co also wants to build 500 of its own stores in Europe and North America.

“Because Lynk & Co will be the first brand to offer its owners the possibility to share their cars when they are not used, we are starting from cities with a high penetration of shared-economy services,” Visser said, “so that means Berlin in Europe and San Francisco in the United States.”

Visser has previously called the traditional dealership model “broken” and now says that Lynk & Co will centralize its sales locations in large shopping malls, as well as flagship and pop-up stores in cities around the globe. So, while Visser doesn’t seem to have a lot of faith in traditional automotive distribution methods, he certainly seems to believe strongly in the cell phone distribution strategy.

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[Images: Lynk & Co]

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12 Comments on “Lynk & Co Stalls Sales Launch for U.S. and Europe...”


  • avatar
    sirwired

    Well, I hope they’ve lined up an insurance company for their putative owners to sign on with, because I’m pretty sure precisely zero normal auto insurers would approve of the “rent out your car to complete strangers on a regular basis” plan. (Kind of how my insurance company has amended it’s polices to say you aren’t covered if you are signed on to any “ride-sharing” app, whether you have passengers in your car or not..)

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    So, still vaporware.

  • avatar
    dwford

    Could it be that they focus grouped badly in the US? They are pretty ugly vehicles.

  • avatar
    OldManPants

    Can anything be less likely, needed or desired than an autonomous Chinese automaker in the USDM?

  • avatar
    newenthusiast

    I think they ‘shared’ part of their business model is what they are going to have to drop instead of the ‘lack of a dealer network’ if they want any traction in North America.

    I can’t speak for how it works in China, or even in Europe, but would ANYONE in the US or Canada want their car to be used by others when they are not using it in exchange for a lifetime warranty?

    I don’t even mean enthusiasts, either. I mean the average car buyer who pretty much NEEDS their car available to get to work and buy necessities on their own schedule, not in their ‘designated time slot’.

    I don’t let anyone but my wife drive my car, and that’s only when she HAS to because I’m taking her car in for a routine service appt. and she has to go to work.

    This would be like owning a Zipcar vehicle, but not a membership, no?

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Posky

      That seems to be the concept. Although, it looks a little more Car2Go than ZipCar. Lynk even hinted that it might be a good idea for an owner to rent their vehicle by the hour for some extra cash in its earliest press materials. I don’t know many Americans that would be comfortable doing that and, outside of major cities, there isn’t much call for it anyway.

  • avatar
    Prado

    They better come up with a new name if they want to sell in the USA. Lynk & Co sounds an awful like Lincoln Motor Company. Coincidence? You have to wonder given the history of Chinese Auto Manufacturers.

    • 0 avatar
      TonyJZX

      “Lynk & Co” sounds like any of the new internet microbrand startups where some guys out of their garage get a watch or handbag manbag etc. made for $10 in CHina and sold for $200 locally with some made up ‘heritage’.

      I personally do not think these cars are too ugly even by Chinese standards but yeah…. there’s a huge credibility gap to be met.

  • avatar
    darex

    Oh well. We still have Lincoln Co.


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