SHANGHAI -- China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group will launch Lynk & CO in San Francisco and Berlin in a bid to give the new marque a foothold in the key U.S. and European markets.
“Because Lynk & CO will be the first brand to offer its owners the possibility to share their cars when they are not used, we are starting from cities with a high penetration of shared- economy services," said Alain Visser, Lynk & CO's senior vice president of marketing and sales. "So that means Berlin in Europe and San Francisco in the United States.”
Last year Visser said the current car distribution model is "broken” because outsourcing sales to dealers robs automakers of margins as well as the opportunity to build up their brand image.
While Lynk & CO plans to set itself apart by emphasizing Internet sales, it also wants to build a network of more than 500 company-owned dealerships, which Visser said will be in big shopping malls. The network will include flagship stores and temporary pop-up stores in cities.
Lynk will start U.S. and European sales a little later than planned as it seeks to establish a company-owned dealership network.
“We think we will start in Europe between the first quarter and the first half of 2019 and enter the U.S. some months later,” Visser said at the Shanghai auto show here.
Originally, Lynk planned to debut in both markets in late 2018, starting with sales of the 01 compact crossover.