Geely has revealed the first vehicle for its new Lynk & Co brand, the 01 compact SUV. The Chinese company, which also owns Volvo, aims to "disrupt the automobile industry and redesign the process of buying, owning and using a car" with its new global car brand.
The disruption begins with the company's sharing-based business model, which allows owners to generate rental income when their car is not in use. When owners aren't using the car, they can press the "Share" button located in the car's infotainment stack to remotely grant access to a vehicle through a sharable digital key. The Lynk & Co app will let an owner monitor and share their car from their phone.
The new startup, which claims that the 01 will be the "most connected car in the world," is giving its vehicles an open-application programming interface. This will allow third party developers to produce new in-car apps to personalize and expand the automotive experience within its vehicles. Lynk & Co says that cloud, platform and online services are in the works with notable partners such as Microsoft, Ericsson and Alibaba.
Adding to the connectivity options within its vehicles, all Lynk & Co vehicles will be equipped with large central touchscreen systems that are capable of running Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Mirror Link.
Lynk and Co intends to shake up the car-buying experience too by ditching the traditional dealership model and selling its cars online or at select store locations. Prices will be fixed in all markets to eliminate haggling headaches, and vehicles will be delivered directly to the new owner's door. If a customer doesn't want to buy the car outright, they'll also have the option to lease it.
The 01, which will be followed by the 02, 03, 04 and so on, is based on the same CMA (Compact Modular Architecture) platform that will underpin the next generation of Volvo's compact cars. All models will be offered with a hybrid or plug-in hybrid powertrains, while Lynk & Co promises its future model range will include two full electric vehicles.
The 01 was designed and engineered in Sweden and it will be manufactured in China. The company says sales will begin in China during 2017. It'll then spread to Europe and the US further down the line.