Geely to sell new auto brand in Europe

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Chinese carmaker Geely Auto Group's new brand, Lynk & Co, will go on sale across Europe in early 2020, the company announced.

Geely Auto Group launches Lynk & Co 01PHEV, a new energy model, at the Auto China 2018 in Beijing on April 25, 2018. [Photo provided to]

"Starting in Amsterdam, Brussels, Berlin, Barcelona and London, we will take our brand on a rolling road show across Europe, starting in 2020 – to make sure we cover as much of the key cities of the continent from our first year on sale," Alain Visser, senior vice-president at Lynk & Co, said at the ongoing Auto China 2018 in Beijing.

The company launched Lynk & Co 01PHEV, a new energy model, at the show.

The new energy technology is mainly implemented by three steps: the hybrid electric vehicle (HEV), the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), and the battery electric vehicle (BEV).

Lynk & Co is developed on the basis of the brand-new compact modular architecture (CMA) that was jointly created by Geely and Volvo. Its technologies and quality aims to rival that of other luxury brands.

Visser said Lynk & Co 01 PHEV, the first model targeting the European market, will be put into production at Volvo's Ghent Plant in Belgium in 2019 and open for sales to the European market in the first half of 2020.

As a new high-end brand, Lynk & Co has been dedicated to exploring younger urban consumers' lifestyles and consumption habits in the internet age. It follows its brand ideal of "personal, open and connected", focusing on urban youth who are both open and unique.

In the future, Lynk & Co will share Volvo's drive-E powertrain, Visser revealed. "In the future there will be further progress in resource collaboration between the two brands, including possible collaboration in architecture technology and clean, efficient powertrain technologies," he added.

As the new energy vehicle segment has been the main battleground in the global automotive market, it also is one of the core directions that Lynk & Co is heading in.

"While developing the CMA, we took all of this into account and built into the CMA the flexibility to use different powertrain technologies, including pure electric, plug-in hybrid, petrol-electric hybrid, mild hybrid new energy power, and traditional fuel powertrain," said Zhu Ling, vice-president of Lynk & Co research institute.

At the present stage, the hybrid and plug-in hybrid technologies are important strategic pivots for Lynk & Co's development of new energy technology, Zhu said.

According to Mats Fagerhag, CEO of China-Euro Vehicle Technology, CMA is a modular vehicle architecture for compact cars that meets the toughest demands on the global market of today and tomorrow.

"It is a fully scalable and modular architecture that accommodates a wide range of powertrains and new technologies," added Fagerhag.

At the Beijing auto show, the company also launched the Lynk & Co 02 in full production specification, and confirmed the start of production at its Zhangjiakou factory in North China's Hebei province.

Lynk & Co 02 is positioned to be a sports crossover SUV. Visser confirmed the vehicle will be available for sale in the Chinese market in the middle of June.

Lynk & Co 01, which was released last year, is praised by customers for its leading safety and excellent driving experience.

New cars from Chinese automakers are steadily going up in market value, a key indicator of improved brand awareness and quality, according to a survey conducted in February by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers and market researcher JD Power.

Analysts noted that China's auto companies are likely to continue the positive trend as they begin to roll out models designed specifically to compete against international brands in the domestic market.

Some of these models are already making an impact. The Lynk & Co 01 sold more than 6,000 units in January, which is a solid figure considering the model was only released late last year.

"We aim to emulate our sales success in China in Europe as well, and I can tell you that the reaction to our brand and our innovative sales model and brilliant designs in Europe has been extremely warm – these are very exciting times indeed for Lynk & Co," Visser said.

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