AMSTERDAM -- Lynk & CO, the Chinese-backed startup and sister brand to Volvo, has unveiled a pre-production version of its latest model, the 02. The brand also announced plans to begin sales of the its second crossover in Europe in 2020.
Lynk & CO describes the 02 as a “sport crossover SUV.” It sits on a shortened, lowered and widened version of the Compact Modular Architecture that it shares with the 01 crossover and the Volvo XC40. The CMA underpinnings were co-developed by Volvo and sibling brand Geely Automobile. Lynk & CO is jointly owned by Zhejiang Geely Holding, Geely Auto and Volvo. Volvo has a 30 percent stake, Geely Auto owns 50 percent and Zhejiang Geely Holding has the remaining 20 percent.
Lynk & CO's first model, the 01 compact crossover went on sale in China in November. European versions of the 01 will go on sale by the first quarter of 2020, the company said here on Monday.
The 01 will be made alongside the XC40 at Volvo's plant in Ghent, Belgium. The 02 is also expected to be produced at Ghent.
Lynk & CO also plans to launch in North America and is considering U.S. production.
Lynk & CO was started in 2015 by Zhejiang Geely Holding, the Chinese company that owns Volvo, with the promise of simplifying the buying and ownership experience. The company plans to sell cars online as well as through retail stores, and a monthly subscription model.
Lynk & CO models will come with software and a smartphone app that facilitates car-sharing, and the company is offering four different trim versions that it calls "expressions" but no options.
The brand's first European sales outlet will open in Amsterdam, to be followed by stores in Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels and London. Cities without stores will be served by rotating pop-up shops, transported by 20 trucks making a total of 700 stops in Europe in 2020. Lynk & CO executives said this arrangement would save at least 10 percent compared with traditional distribution costs.
European models will be powered by plug-in hybrid powertrains to start.
Along with the 01 and 02 crossovers, Lynk & CO has also shown a concept of the 03, a midsize sedan.
Lynk & CO is one of several Chinese-owned auto companies seeking to break into the European market. Chinese automakers such as Great Wall, Chery and MG are aiming at Europe's fast-growing SUV segments. Two of Lynk & CO's three announced models are crossovers or SUVs.
The brand is led by Alain Visser, a veteran of Ford, General Motors Europe and most recently Volvo, where he previously served as global vice president of marketing, sales and customer service.