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Lynk & Co is also completely bypassing the dealership network, saying it'll sell cars exclusively online
Earlier this summer Amazon launched a hub for online car shopping. Last week a mint 1964 Aston Martin DB5 was sold on the internet for a million dollars using Apple Pay, which is reportedly the most expensive online purchase ever. Tesla's been selling cars online for a number of years now. So yeah, traditional brick and mortar car dealers need to watch this space...
The Chinese have been watching for a while, more specifically Geely and its Swedish subsidiary Volvo, a reborn carmaker that posted a record 2015 result with half a million vehicle sales and projected double digit growth this year.
They've been watching closely and cooking up, in Volvo's hometown of Gothenburg, a new carmaker called Lynk & Co that is attempting to revolutionise car ownership. The big idea is that Lynk & Co doesn't so much want to sell you a car as the use of a car, meaning you have a choice whether to lease, borrow or own, or whatever. It's not even calling itself a car company — instead it wants you to think of its, well, car, as a hub that incorporates a full digital interface, always-on connectivity running open source software so the community can customise the car's apps and infotainment like they do any platform. It'll be a rolling smartphone.
Lynk & Co is also completely bypassing the dealership network, saying it'll sell (or lease, or lend) cars exclusively online — Tesla's already utilising a similar sales network although the American company does have physical locations around the world. Since Lynk & Co's car's always online, servicing is scheduled automatically with the company sending courtesy replacement vehicles and whisking your car away for maintenance. If you're not home it won't matter, because you'll be able to biometrically authorise anyone to enter or drive your car. Most commenters quite accurately compare Lynk & Co's radical idea to something like Airbnb, the incredibly popular online accommodation marketplace that is doing hoteliers' heads in.
So you can bet the car industry will be watching this closely because if Lynk & Co's methods take off it'll be like Kodak all over again, except on wheels.
As for the car itself, currently the model Lynk & Co is flaunting for 2017 production is a crossover, of course, called simply the 01 for now, that looks like a mash-up of Kia's Sportage and Porsche's Cayenne/Macan SUVs. Since the model sits on Volvo's Compact Modular Architecture, which underpins the new XC90 and S90, Lynk & Co has the potential to widen its portfolio to saloons, estates and hatchbacks on this transverse engined platform.
Power is courtesy of Volvo's 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder with dual-clutch, all-wheel drive, and plug-in hybrid options. A base model will deploy an upcoming Swedish-developed three-cylinder 1.5-litre engine producing a punchy 180bhp, and coupled to an electric motor will put 220 horsepower to all four wheels.
Lynk & Co will begin selling the 01 next year in China (with the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba) offered in Sport and City trim packages, with rest-of the-world roll-out commencing from 2018. The only question left to answer is howmany of you will click the checkout button.
Have a look at the Volvo V90 Cross Country - Anti matters