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Geely: Digital revolution in automaking – and sales

  • Automaking and sales rules challenged
  • Global brand with its head in the clouds
  • Savings on marketing drop pricing
Geely Lynk & Co Image: Geely Motors
DIGITAL SUV: The 01 model from Lynk & Co Image: Geely Motors

BERLIN, Germany – The Geely Auto Group has launched Lynk &Co, a global car brand that wants to challenge the conventions of the automobile industry.

The car was designed and engineered in Sweden and born digital for Lynk & Co to introduce its business model, an open API, personalised services, sharing possibilities and the first dedicated app store for cars.

The first car in the range is the 01, a bold and tech-laden SUV built on compact modular architecture.

Geely Lynk & Co Image: Geely Motors
VOLVO LINES HERE?  Perhaps, but Lynk & Co is focusing on digital production, sales and servicing with cars collected from owners’ homes or offices. Image: Geely Motors

The company says the auto industry has been refining design and engineering for decades but paid less attention to distribution and ownership model. A media release said: “Our customers’ values and preferences have evolved dramatically. It is time for us to step into the future to become a comprehensive solution for mobility and lifestyle.”

So, Lynk & Co is introducing a premium range of cars but at “accessible of price points” and “challenging and redesigning every link in the chain”.

Alain Visser, senior vice-president of Lynk & Co, said: “Our aim is to enrich and simplify car ownership by redefining how they are bought, owned, connected, serviced and used.”

Geely Lynk & Co Image: Geely Motors
PROUDLY NEW BADGE: Lynk & Co’s highly digital facia and touchscreen. Image: Geely Motors

The 01 will be followed by 02, 03 and so forth until a full range in created but meanwhile the  01, Visser says, “will be characterised by a strong personality in its design, capturing both its European and Chinese genes, and the latest technology – the heart of which will always be an ‘always connected’ state”.

The Lynk & Co and 01 have, according to the released information, been developed to address the needs and preferences of “the global and connected generation of consumers”.

Geely Lynk & Co Image: Geely Motors
NEW FOR THE FUTURE: Geely Lynk & Co is a Chinese-backed business working in conjunction with Volvo. Image: Geely Motors

“Its natural habitat,” it’s claimed, “will be the mega-city. Frantic and culturally diverse places have provided much inspiration”.

Geely Design Sweden, part of Geely Design Global led by Peter Horbury, executive vice-president of design for the Geely Auto Group, has developed the design philosophy and form language for Lynk & Co with support from studios in Shanghai, Barcelona and Los Angeles.

The design brief was simple: cars that will stand out from the crowd and appeal to a truly global audience”.

Geely Lynk & Co Image: Geely Motors
ONE MODULAR CHASSIS: The Lynk & Co model 01 will share this integrated chassis with all following models, large and smaller. Image: Geely Motors

Andreas Nilsson, head of Geely Design Sweden, told The Corner in a media release: “From a distance we have a European design approach. Get closer and you’ll see more and more detail, such as the intricate lights and the type of grain on the leather upholstery.

“A wide grille completes the distinctive ‘face’ of the car. We wanted to acknowledge that our users will be extremely tech-savvy – a smartphone is integral to their lives so our cabin design reflects that and will feel familiar in the context of new technology.”

Engineering and technology for the cars was developed under China Euro Vehicle Technology, a shared Geely/Volvo research and innovation centre. Each car model will be based on the compact modular architecture (CMA) – described as “capable of accommodating many body styles and sizes” and which underpins Volvo’s new compact car range and will do the same for upcoming Geely models.

Mats Fägerhag, CEO of CEVT, enlarged: “We have engineers with decades of experience with some of the world’s best automakers developing the Lynk & Co range. A close working relationship with Geely and Volvo and years of intense digital and physical testing have delivered really outstanding results.

“The architecture and range of power trains we have developed are state-of-the-art to help us produce vehicles that are strong, light, efficient, fun to drive and packed full of technology.”

Geely Lynk & Co Image: Geely Motors
COMPUTERISED CLASS: The world wants SUV’s and this product from Lynk & Co should have no problem getting its share of sales. Image: Geely Motors

The core of the brand is said to be connectivity. “Buyers will find a range of connected technology in the vehicles,” the release added, “to make their lives easier. Each will have a large central touchscreen and telematics that are always connected to the internet and the car’s own cloud.

“The cars will have a ‘share’ button to allow its driver to provide others with access to the vehicle trough a shareable digital key to control, monitor and share their car from a smartphone – or directly from the car.”

LEAVING THE OLD BEHIND

David Green, chief digital officer, added: “While other car brands are undergoing a digital transformation, Lynk & Co was born digital.

“The lack of legacy systems and the ability to build solutions in the cloud enable us to depart from the old model of car sales and service to bring the customer seamlessly through an omni-channel platform, with intuitive interaction at every touch point – from researching and purchase and all the way through to owning, sharing, servicing and re-selling.”

Working with Microsoft and Alibaba to explore a whole new digital customer infrastructure for the car industry, Lynk says it will offer digital ordering, supply, sales and customer management systems and custom applications for user interaction.

DIRECT INTERACTION WITH CUSTOMERS

All Lynk vehicles will, the company says, be developed to meet the top level of Chinese, European and American safety ratings. The cars will have a range of ultra-efficient power trains for fuel economy and performance among the best in their class using a seven-speed double-clutch transmission and offer electrified power trains.

The automaker will, it’s claimed, interact directly with customers. Cars will be delivered, and collected for service from the owner’s home or office. They will also be available not only through conventional ownership but also through leasing and subscription/sharing-membership.

The savings from the lack of conventional distribution (typically about 25% of a car’s price) will be passed on to the customer through “highly competitive pricing”.

SWEDISH DESIGN AND ENGINEERING

The automaker has avoided following the usual programme of a small number of basic models and a long list of options with a simple selection of fully equipped, fixed-pricem, vehicles.

The vehicles will be designed and engineered in Sweden for the global market. The first units will be sold in China in 2017, followed by Europe and the US.

  • Lynk & Co is described as “a brand from Geely Auto Group, a subsidiary of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group – the owner of Volvo Cars and London Taxi Company. Geely Auto Group is one of China’s largest automakers”.

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