Chinese auto maker Geely, the owner of Volvo and the London Taxi Company, has launched Lynk& Co, a new auto brand that aims to disrupt the traditional auto distribution and sharing models.
The first car under the new brand is an SUV called the 01, which will be followed by 02, 03 and so forth. The vehicle and the brand launch at an event in Berlin Thursday, but Geely chose to focus on how the new brand will be different from other vehicle brands( though it does share some similarities with Tesla ).
Lynk& Co automobiles will be sold exclusively online, with the same global price and will be delivered( and picked up when in need of repairs) to customers’ doors.
Another important feature of Lynk& Co automobiles is sharing. The owner will be able to share a “digital lock” that dedicates access to the car with household, coworkers and friends, and defined a “share” day when they can use the car.
The car’s connectivity/ infotainment/ telematics platform will be a new, open one, created in collaboration with Microsoft, Alibaba and Ericsson. “The digital platform will feature an open API and is planning to instigate for endless opportunities to personalize, enrich and expand the vehicle experience, ” the company said in a press release.
There’s some marketing talk in the company’s press release whose exact meaning is hard to discern for example, Geely tells the new brand is “born digital” and that its business model is “in the cloud.” But the overall idea appears to be: shun traditional vehicle dealerships in favor of the web, embrace car sharing and induce everything connected, which is similar to what Tesla is doing, especially if you look at Elon Musk’s “master plan” for the company.
So what about the car itself? Geely tells all Lynk& Co cars will be “electrified, ” which likely entails “hybrid, ” and very fuel-efficient, but that’s pretty much all we know about the 01 ‘s engine. The company also claims the cars will be very safe; the 01 will sport safety technologies like Forward Collision Warning( FCW ), Autonomous Emergency Brake( AEB) and Adaptive Cruise Control( ACC ), to name a few. The car is based on Geely’s new Compact Modular Architecture( CMA ), which it will share with upcoming Volvo and Geely cars.
Design-wise, it’s a handsome crossover that perhaps has more in common with the Porsche Cayenne than the Volvo SUVs. It’s got more techy details than most automobiles in the segment; head of Lynk& Co design Andreas Nilsson says it was designed to appeal to “extremely tech-savvy” users, whose smartphone is an “integral part of their lives.”
Inside, taking a cue from Tesla, the dashboard is dominated by a large touchscreen. It’s techy and handsome, but altogether in line with the modern, luxury autoes of today.
The Lynk& Co 01 will first become available in China in 2017, followed by a launch in Europe and the U.S. There’s no word on the price, but Geely claims that thanks to its distribution model that doesn’t require traditional car dealerships the 01 will be very competitively priced.