Geely gets in gear
Automaker hopes to attract technology-savvy motorists in the world’s major megacities
Chinese automaker Geely launches a new brand of car in Berlin in a drive to capture the midrange market.
Chinese automaker Geely launched a new brand of car— Lynk & Co —on Thursday in Berlin in its drive to seize the midrange market.
The medium-sized, techladen SUV was developed by Geely’s China Euro Vehicle Technology R&D center in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Li Shufu, chairman and founder of Geely, said that the new brand merges safety and high quality with modern technology, embodying the response from the traditional automaker to the challenges of internet companies.
Li stressed the strong research and development ties between Geely and Volvo, a company it acquired six years ago, led to the new product.
The R&D center in Sweden has grown from nothing to more than 1,000 employees and consultants in just three years.
The design of the new Lynk & Co auto is distinct from concept cars, and has a modern European look.
“This car points toward the future,” said Peter Horbury, Geely’s executive vice-president of design. “It shows the design language is versatile and flexible.”
Horbury said the car has a personality with both European and Chinese characteristics.
The brand targets techsavvy drivers, especially young people in megacities such as Beijing, Shanghai, New York and London.
Andreas Nilsson, Geely’s head of design, said: “Our car needed to stand out from the crowd and appeal to a global audience. Our interior design reflects this and feels familiar in the context of new technology.”
The makers say the car offers an entirely new way to own and use avehicle. Registered owners will be able to rent out their car to others using the Lynk & Co app and a shareable digital key, said Alain Visser, senior vice-president at Lynk & Co.
The first vehicle will make its debut in China in 2017, and will launch in Europe and the US in 2018.
Analysts say the brand is likely to be less luxurious than Volvo, but higher rated than Geely, and will go headto-head with Volkswagen, Toyota, Ford and Hyundai.
Michael D Dunne, president of Dunne Automotive, an investment advisory company, said: “It combines Chinese financial and manufacturing efficiency with an international team of designers and engineers. It will compete with mainstream products.”
But the road ahead for any new brand of auto could be bumpy.
Namrita Chow, principal analyst at IHS Automotive, a global information company, said the performance of the brand will depend on its price.
“One of the challenges will come from China’s local producers” because many of them have also done well with R&D and sales in recent years, Chow said.
Geely saw sales of its feature-packed cars grow for 16 consecutive months to September.