GOTHENBURG, Sweden -- Lynk & CO is the "wild horse" in parent Zhejiang Geely Holding's growing stable of brands, CEO Alain Visser says, because unlike other Geely brands such as Volvo and Lotus the company sees itself as a "mobility brand with a car."
Geely has two objectives for Lynk & CO, Visser told the Automotive News Europe Congress here on Wednesday:
1. To become the first brand steered from China to be global
2. To not just say, 'Here is another car brand.' But to say, 'Here is a brand that challenges the car industry.'"
While China’s GAC Motor is postponing a launch in the U.S. next year, Lynk & Co is going ahead with its plan for U.S. sales. Visser said the U.S. launch for Lynk & CO will happen at the end of 2021.
In Europe, one way to accomplish its mission will be not having traditional dealers when it starts sales in mid-2020.
Visser said that Lynk & CO will have two to three company-owned flagship stores per country and supplement them with so-called “pop-up stores” that will visit smaller cities in that country.
For example, Lynk & CO's flagship store in Sweden will be in Stockholm, which means someone in Gothenburg with interest in one of the brand’s cars will have to wait until the pop-up store comes to town. Visser said Lynk & CO’s mobile store will be in Gothenburg for one week a month.
Everything inside the company’s stores -- sofas, chairs, espresso cups -- will be for sale. This plan has proved to be popular. Visser said a large number of companies have approached Lynk & CO about having their products inside the brand's store. These products range from kick bikes to shoes to furniture.
"We are not desperately looking for partners. We are selecting partners," Visser said.
Lynk & CO already has the 01, 02 and 03 models on sale in China, where they accounted for a combined 120,000 sales in 2018. When asked about the 04, 05 and 06 Visser declined to offer details but he did provide an interesting tease: "We are not a car company. We are a mobility company, so when you talk the 04 and 05 you're thinking cars and that doesn't necessarily have to be the case."