James Litton: One to watch out for from Lynk & Co

Time 9:31 am, March 24, 2017

MEDIA companies haven’t been struggling for content in the past few months – so much so that last October you may have missed some articles relating to a new entrant to the automotive arena scheduled for late 2018.

Lynk & Co is a brand owned by the parent company of my own franchise, Volvo. For that very reason I didn’t miss the press releases, but I’ve only recently looked into it in more detail and I’m both nervous and excited by what I read.

The fact that Geely wants to widen its brand portfolio from Volvo, the London Taxi Company and its own domestic models is no surprise, but Lynk & Co offers the future consumer a new ownership model that doesn’t involve a traditional network, and this definitely raises some eyebrows.

The launch model is called the One. It looks like it’s been created from the parts bins of a Porsche Macan, Volvo XC60 and Kia Sportage. A curious mix, but all models have something to offer a would-be driver.

A customer will configure the car online and it appears may be able to sign a contract of a variable length.

I am aware that many manufacturers are considering ways to innovate finance contracts as consumer sentiment drifts from ownership, but Lynk & Co looks to take this a stage further.

It promises the use of a digital key which, in theory, allows the owner to offer the use of the car to someone else. Think Airbnb but for cars.

You can even see on its website, artwork of an app that appears to show feedback from a driver given to an owner. This is a really exciting development that you can see would have mass appeal, particularly in urban environments. But I’d urge caution to my colleagues involved in this new venture.

The much-publicised failure of South Korean conglomerate Daewoo to revolutionise motor retailing will be frequently thrown in the face of Lynk & Co.

Service and body networks are not easily established, particularly with partners that have similar brand and cultural values as Lynk & Co.

There is also the issue of residual values. I have just been challenged with my first Tesla. I had no idea where to go with it, nor who would buy it. The customer told us this was not the first time he had heard that – and that was partly why he was looking to sell. However, Daewoo entered the market a long time ago and the market at that time wasn’t looking for a revolution.

In today’s destabilised world, disrupters can be found in the worlds of both business and politics, so there is no reason to doubt the potential success of the venture.

Who is James Litton? James is general manager – director of Volvo Cars Poole. He always has something to say about the industry he loves.

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