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Lynk & Co’s ‘shareable’ 01 SUV goes on sale in China

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The aspiring ‘smartphone on wheels’ is now available to buy

Photo: Lynk & Co

Lynk & Co, the new car brand spawned from the relationship between China’s Geely and Sweden’s Volvo, is today starting the first deliveries of its very first car, the 01 SUV. Geely bought Volvo back in 2010, but it didn’t quite have the right brand positioning to market itself to the young and aspiring consumer in the country: Volvo was too premium, while Geely’s own-brand vehicles were too far down into the bargain basement. Hence: Lynk & Co, a spinoff marque that would operate under the premise of making connectivity as central to its existence as safety is to Volvo.

Today’s launch follows a presale of 6,000 cars on November 17th, which proved popular enough to sell out within three minutes. As a result, Lynk & Co has decided to cheekily claim that the 01 was, for those brief three minutes, the fastest-selling car in the world. Now available to buy online and through 150 brick-and-mortar boutiques and stores, the 01 SUV will have to really prove its appeal with consumers on a much larger scale. After China, Lynk & Co intends to make the car available in Europe and then open up availability globally.

Photo: Lynk & Co

The 01’s starting price in China is just under $24,000, and the top-spec model — with leather sports seats, rails, bigger wheels, and an upgraded audio system — tops out at close to $30,600. Interestingly, Lynk & Co notes that its prices in Europe and the rest of the world will definitely be higher than the ones specified for China, illustrating once again just how price-sensitive the Chinese market is (something we’ve already witnessed in the smartphone market). That’s also down to the engines: the first batch of cars in China will run on Volvo-derived petrol engines, whereas the European variants of the car will come with electrified powertrains as standard.

Beyond the initial price, the 01 comes with a subscription fee to pay, which Lynk & Co justifies through a panoply of connectivity options, including a dedicated app store for its cars, an always-on connection to both the internet and a personal cloud for the driver, and the ability to share the car — including “the world’s first in-car share button.” Wanting to be seen as a smartphone on wheels is all well and good, but Lynk & Co’s real advantage so far is in bypassing the costs associated with having to deal with the old car-sale model of working through dealerships. Without that overhead, the company can be more agile in its distribution and aggressive with its pricing.