China's Lynk & Co May Get Help From Volvo in Its Westward March
Fresh-faced automotive brand Lynk & CO began selling its first vehicle in China about two months ago. But it has bigger aspirations than procuring a place in Asia’s largest market — it wants to achieve global domination through westerly expansion and is now preparing to take its first steps.
While the goal seems unrealistic for a fledgeling automaker producing only one model, the brand has friends in high places. Volvo Cars, which is also owned by Geely Automotive, may be tapped to assist Lynk in Europe by offering its factory in Belgium and opening up its servicing infrastructure. If so, that would set a precedent for a Volvo-based support network that could eventually extend to North America.
Since Lynk & Co’s upmarket SUV uses the same Compact Modular Architecture as Volvo’s XC40, chief executive Hakan Samuelsson said the Swedish company was seriously considering lending a helping hand. Having a European factory would give Lynk credibility on the global market, but it would also reinforce its image in China — a country with a consumer-base that strongly associates high-end automobiles with Western influence.
“If and when they decide to go global, to Europe, possibly the U.S., we can of course make that entry more credible,” Samuelsson told Bloomberg in an interview.
The Swedish company doesn’t really have much to gain by refusing to help. Volvo Cars owns a 30 percent stake in Lynk & Co, while Geely Automobile Holdings holds the majority share at 50 percent. The remaining shares are with Zhejiang Haoqing Automobile Manufacturing, a firm controlled by Zhejiang Geely. Volvo’s XC40 also already shares a production line with Lynk’s 01 SUV in China.
Regardless of where the models are built, Geely has already stated its intentions to start selling cars outside of China in 2019. The plan is to begin in Europe before moving on to North America. The obvious candidate for both regions are the $25,000 Lynk & Co compact sport utility vehicle.
As Geely explores the feasibility of building Lynk-branded vehicles in Europe, Volvo seems ready. “We would of course have interest [in] doing that,” Samuelsson said.
[Image: Lynk & Co]
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