Volvo’s connected sister brand launched successfully in its key market, China. By the turn of the decade, it will start spreading its electrified crossovers on the European continent. Its USPs? A very flexible, affordable subscription model and built-in sharing capabilities. That sounds like music to the ears of the Mobility Manager – and called for an interview with the company’s CEO, Alain Visser.
Mr Visser, Lynk&Co got off to a flying start in China. It is the right car in the right place at the right time?
China has welcomed Lynk&Co very warmly indeed. Looking at the order intake, we are well on our way to hit the 100,000 mark by the end of the year. Our 01 seems to be in the right spot in terms of market positioning. One the one hand, there is the car itself, which is premium and still attractively priced. On the other, there is its smartphone aspect. That proves to be an attractive proposition to the younger generation.
Smartphone, as in: a monthly all-inclusive fee, a collection of devices to choose from and plenty of apps?
Exactly. Millennials want maximum flexibility and all-inclusive pricing rather than long-term commitments and hassle. Our subscription model is more than just a private lease. It includes services like pick-up and delivery, cleaning, and lots of other things I cannot disclose just yet. Moreover, the contract duration could go from just 1 month all the way up to 3 years, with the possibility to swap vehicles up to four times a year, all at an attractive price.
Talking about price: how are you able to keep costs at bay?
First of all, we are owned by Geely, meaning that we can use Volvo platforms and technology. Second, our distribution model cuts out the middle man. We sell our cars online, directly to the end-user. Third, we limit our product offer. The customer can choose from a fixed collection offering different colour combinations, but no flexibility in terms of equipment: all our cars come with a plethora of comfort, convenience and connectivity features as standard.
Is there no way for customers to touch, smell, feel and see the product before they buy it?
Yes, there is also what we call the offline part. In large urban areas we will have so-called offline stores: small, sociable brand boutiques. Apart from that, we will deploy mobile pop-up stores that will roll around Europe on trucks – picking up all key cities that initially won’t have a store presence.
Connectivity is the largest chromosome in Lynk&Co’s genome. How does it express itself?
Lynk&Co has a dedicated app store for its cars. Thanks to our open application programming interface (API), third-party developers can create and build apps for our vehicles. Furthermore, the driver always has access to the internet and a personal cloud. Last but not least, we have the world’s first in-car share button.
Car sharing is hot in corporate mobility. What is Lynk&Co’s added value?
Other brands are exploring sharing services as well, but we are the only brand that integrates sharing in the hardware of our cars. They can be unlocked with your smartphone, opening up a world of interesting usage scenarios. Software allows you to easily split the costs based on usage. If anything, Lynk&Co is the brand that will make sharing easier than ever before.
Picture copyright: Lynk&Co, 2018