After enduring a series of rough years resulting in some unsettling financial reports, Nissan is doing its utmost to turn things around. Following its first annual loss in 11 years, the company announced a plan that would include cutting 20 percent of its global lineup to make way for newer models, eliminating unnecessary production capacity, and cutting corners (and jobs) just about everywhere in order to save $2.8 billion off of fixed costs. This is also being done to make way for a leaner, meaner Nissan, and make room for newer vehicles it believes will be essential to remain competitive.
It’s also hoping to spruce up dealerships to make them more desirable locales for customers ready to do their business. That includes an increased number of factory audits moving into 2021 — partly as a way to make up for the limited number that were conducted this year thanks to the pandemic and partly as a way to make sure nobody is doing anything financially untoward. But there are some concerns among owners that Nissan may end up bullying shops unnecessarily.
Lynk & Co, the Geely-owned sister brand to Volvo, is rounding out its product lineup with the announcement of a new sport utility vehicle. For clarification, it’s not really an SUV, as Lynk only builds car-based crossovers — and it’s also not entirely new, because it appears to be a squished-down version of the existing 01, itself based on the Volvo XC40. But this recipe may still have produced something novel for the fledgling automaker.
Based on claims from the manufacturer, what we have here is a shortened, lowered, and girthed-up sporting version of its existing crossover. Called the “02,” it’s an even more wagon-like CUV (that stops short of being a full-blown car). This makes sense, as the brand is already planning an “03” sedan. Spy shots of the sedan prototype reveals it more or less resembles an 01 “SUV” with a lowered ride height and different roof.
In fact, all of these vehicles look so similar that it almost feels like Lynk & Co is trying to pull a fast one on us. However, a critical eye reveals subtle styling cues that differentiate the models, even if it’s only slightly.
Late last month, Hyundai Motor America sent messages to dealers that announced the formation of an independent Genesis dealer network. The plan was to further separate the luxury brand from the rest of the company’s automotive fare by creating standalone dealerships.
While great for the brand’s image, the automaker’s strategy only calls for 100 initial locations. That’s a problem, because there are roughly 350 dealers that are currently eligible to sell both.
This hasn’t gone over well with Hyundai stores currently selling Genesis models right next to their more pedestrian inventory. Dealers have been offered compensation if they don’t make the cut, but plenty of them aren’t interested. They don’t want the money, they want the cars.
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.
Chinese car brand Guangzhou Automobile Group’s showing at the North American International Auto Show made it pretty clear that the manufacturer wants to get into the U.S. market. But, with its earlier deadlines to do so having gone unmet, there is skepticism that it won’t happen by 2019. Is it really possible?
Well, sure, anything is possible. But GAC has a laundry list of obstacles to overcome if it wants to sell cars to Americans in earnest and the clock is ticking. For starters, politicians are starting to get a little testy when it comes to Chinese trade policies, and GAC now finds itself as a focal point on the issue. More importantly, the brand needs a clear-cut path to victory — and we’ve yet to hear one.
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.