Lynk & Co launches in Europe with subscription ownership model
New Lynk & Co car sharing brand launches in Europe and will be in the UK from 2022
Lynk & Co, sister brand to Volvo, has confirmed that it will launch in the UK with right-hand-drive cars from 2022 at the earliest, after launching in left-hand-drive European markets.
The company’s models will be sold on a month-to-month subscription basis, and claims it will charge owners a maximum of €500 (£456) per month for an all-encompassing service.
Prospective subscribers can reduce their monthly fee by sharing the car with other Lynk & Co members. Becoming a member is free, but vehicle owners are able to set their own prices for how much it will cost others to use it.
Insurance, breakdown recovery and tax is all included in the monthly cost - all owners have to pay for is fuel. Vehicles will be serviced at Volvo dealerships and networks.
While the company has already launched a number of vehicles in China, the only model that will be available from launch in Europe is the Lynk & Co 01 - a plug-in hybrid crossover based on the same CMA architecture as the Volvo XC40.
Its powertrain comprises a 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine, a lithium-ion battery and electric motor, combining to produce 257bhp. Up to 40 miles is possible on fully electric power, the brand claims.
Bosses have confirmed that Lynk & Co will have no more than three models in its European product portfolio. “I think we should at no point have more than three months. I actually think that we can work with one model. I think the simpler the better,” Lynk & Co CEO Alain Visser told us.
There will be no physical Lynk & Co dealers, so buyers will order their vehicle online. Cars come with a set specification, and the only option buyers are given is the colour - black or blue - so vehicles will always be in stock ready for delivery.
Alain Visser, Lynk & Co CEO, said: “We could be the only car brand that if you sign up on a Monday, you could have your car delivered by Wednesday.
“Simplicity is so key for our brand - we want to make everything brutally simple. We have two colours - black or blue. Everything else is standard,” Visser added. “Sharing needs to be brutally easy - as easy as sharing a pizza.”
Q&A with Lynk & Co boss Alain Visser
Q: Will you develop right-hand drive models for the UK?
A: Yeah, we will, but I have to be honest, we don't have the precise timing for it, but it will not be next year. So the timing for that is still open. Statistically, for us, the UK could be our second biggest market.
Q: Why has nobody else done a subscription-based sales model before?
A: I really don't have a good answer - it's intriguing. It’s an industry that is old, old fashioned, arrogant and rich. So the car industry is making good money. So why change a winning game? But then I think, just look what's happening there with customers and their need for something else. So I do not understand why nobody has tried this route.
Q: Why do you think you can make a success of it? Is it a gamble?
A: I think we have to be honest. Yes, because it doesn't exist. Starting with anything that doesn't exist yet is always a risk. I always tell my bosses that the risk of doing the same with all the others is a lot bigger than starting with something else. So I feel confident that we're doing the right thing.
Q: How many models do you intend to have within the European range?
A: I think we should at no point have more than three models. I actually think that we can work with one model. I think the simpler the better, the question will be whether we then have an electric car, if a hybrid is still needed or if it's going to be full electric. But for me, given our business model, the simpler the model choice, the better.
Q: Is there a desire at some point to have the electric architecture from the Zero concept in Europe?
A: Yes, and I think it's very likely that that will be the platform of our first electric car.
Now read our first drive review of the Lynk & Co 01…