Car Industry

Lynk & Co wants to do away with model years

The offshoot of Volvo parent company Geely has some radical ideas for how it can help reinvent the auto industry.

When Geely launched Lynk & Co last October, the company said it wanted to "disrupt the automobile industry and redesign the process of buying, owning and using a car." Now, we're getting a better idea of what that entails.

Lynk & Co wants to omit or alter several tenets of traditional vehicle purchase and ownership, Automotive News reports, citing a speech from Alain Visser, a senior vice president at Lynk & Co. "My strong belief was, and still is, if you create a new car brand, do things differently," Visser told the crowd at the Automotive News Retail Forum in New Orleans.

The fledgling automaker hopes to use a direct-sales model that eschews the traditional dealership, a move that left Tesla with certain states banning its sales model. Visser believes the best way to bring a vehicle to a younger crowd is to have the car delivered, with pickups and drop-offs when service is required. Its storefronts will be small and located in largely urban areas.

Promising the most connected car in the world is a tall order, but Lynk & Co thinks it can hit that mark.

Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

This might not sit well with dealers at first, but Visser believes he can actually help increase dealers' bottom lines by focusing on delivery and service, the latter of which is already the main profit center for many dealerships. Lynk & Co is looking into working with Volvo dealerships at first, probably because parent company Geely owns both, and it's already committing to lobbying efforts of its own.

Visser believes the car itself will further separate his brand from well-established automakers. It will be offered in a subscription format without a down payment, like a Spotify or iTunes subscription -- you only pay for the car as long as you want it. Traditional leasing and financing will still exist, but only the subscription price will be advertised.

Furthermore, model years will be done away with, and choices will be limited. All models will come fully loaded, with the main choice being paint color. Visser said the colors will launch based on the season, like how the fashion industry operates. There won't be any names, either -- the lineup will start with the 01 and the numbers will progress from there.

The primary focus won't be on engine specs or fuel economy, but rather connectivity. From the outset, Lynk & Co referred to its 01 as "the most connected car in the world," permitting third-party app development and cloud integration, thanks to a partnership with Ericsson.

The Lynk & Co 01 is slated to go on sale in China later this year, making its way to Europe and the US after that. It rides on the same Compact Modular Architecture platform that will underpin Volvo's next-generation compact vehicles. It will be a hybrid, but electric vehicles are slated to arrive further down the product pipeline.