It’s not often that a brand-new carmaker enters the market. That’s exactly what Lynk & Co is doing, and it’s doing it by focusing on connectivity through a subscription-based usership model.
Lynk & Co is bringing the 01 compact SUV to Europe. It will be available to buy but Europeans can also sign up for a membership for €500 per month. This cost can be reduced by sharing vehicles through the Lynk & Co app.
The Lynk & Co 01 has been on sale in China since 2017 but is has been revised for the European market. Its front end has been redesigned, it has an all-new interior and the chassis has been tuned for European roads. The 01 has also been modified to meet European safety standards.
It should come as no surprise that the Lynk & Co 01 shares its underpinnings with the Volvo XC40 as the company is part of the same group as Volvo, Geely Zhejiang Holdings.
The 01 will only be offered with hybrid drivetrains for the European market. A plug-in hybrid 180-hp petrol engine with a 75-hp electric motor promises an electric-only range of about 70km. The full hybrid variant mates a 143-hp petrol engine to a 50-hp electric motor.
Lynk & Co is taking a gamble by pushing the subscription model. In China, where Lynk & Co cars have been available for some time, its cars can only be bought outright in China because the company believes Chinese drivers still prize car ownership.
Results of other car subscription services have been mixed so far, with Mercedes-Benz pulling the plug on a pilot it started two years ago. Cadillac did the same earlier and GM shut down its Maven carsharing business earlier this year. The European market, with its many heavily congested cities, could turn out to be more successful.
Options on the 01 are limited in a move to facilitate deliveries. Members can choose between the two powertrain options and they can have their car in dark blue or black.
Purchase prices have not yet been disclosed. The membership, at a price of €500 per month, comes with a maximum of 15,000km per year.
The interior comes with all tech drivers have come to expect, including an enormous tablet in the centre console.
Lynk & Co will open what it calls clubs, retail outlets where potential drivers can familiarise themselves with the concept and the vehicle. Most transactions are, however, expected to be done online. The vehicles will be services through the Volvo network.
So far, Lynk & Co only plans to launch the 01 in Europe, though the carmaker also offers a 02 coupe-style SUV and a 03 saloon on the Chinese market.
Signing up will be possible from the end of October and the first vehicles should become available in the spring of 2021.