Volvo will gain a corporate sibling in 2019 when its Chinese owner, Geely, launches the Lynk & Co sub-brand in North America with a small crossover.
Dubbed the 01, that little utility will be based on the same platform that will underpin Volvo’s forthcoming 40-series models. While the 01 will look different from its Volvo platform mates, what will more effectively set it apart is a business model that will see Lynk sell its vehicles directly to buyers and also offer shared ownership and rental services.
The North American launch will follow the 01’s arrival sometime in 2018. Geely debuted the Lynk 01 earlier this year at the Shanghai auto show, where it also revealed it would initially be powered by three- and four-cylinder engines. Despite Volvo’s eagerness to transition its entire lineup to electrification, the 01 will start off with petrol power only, though hybrid and electric powertrains are “in the pipeline.”
Dubbed the most connected car ever, the 01 has a 10.1-inch touchscreen channeling an infotainment system that will always be connected to the Internet. Owners who choose to lend their Lynk to another driver will be able to do so via a digital shareable key, and the car can be controlled via Lynk’s smartphone app. Lynk will also encourage software developers to come up with third-party apps for its cars by fitting them with an open API, or application program interface.
Once the first examples of the 01 are in customers’ hands, Lynk says it will roll out a sedan model called the 03, a concept of which was shown in Shanghai, and which is likely to go on sale later in 2019. Lynk has yet to show a concept for the model that will slot in between, the 02, but word is it will be a smaller, sportier version of the 01.