Digital car could challenge convention

A new car brand has been launched with a digital backbone to challenge the traditional business model around car ownership.

LYNK & CO, from Sweden-based Geely Auto Group, is a global brand that introduces a new business model, an open Application Programme Interface (API), personalized services, sharing possibilities and the first dedicated app store for cars.

The first car in the range is the 01, a bold and tech-laden SUV, built on the Compact Modular Architecture (CMA). It will be followed by 02, 03 and so forth, reflecting the brand’s idea of simplifying and challenging industry conventions, right down to model names.

Alain Visser, senior vice president of LYNK & CO, said, ‘Our industry has been refining design and engineering successfully for decades – but not so much the distribution and ownership model.  Our customers’ values and preferences have evolved dramatically. It is time for us to step into the future and reinvent the model to become a comprehensive solution for mobility and lifestyle.

‘Our aim is to enrich and simplify car ownership by redefining how they are bought, owned, connected, serviced and used.’

The 01 operates in an ‘always connected’ state, and all cars will come with a large central touchscreen and telematics systems that are always connected to the internet and the car’s own cloud. The car has a share button, enabling the owner to provide others with access to the vehicle via a shareable digital key. Via the LYNK & CO app they control, monitor and share their car from a smartphone – or directly from the car.

David Green, chief digital officer, said, ‘While other car brands are undergoing a digital transformation, LYNK & CO is born digital. The lack of legacy systems and the ability to build solutions in the cloud enable us to depart from the old model of car sales and service to bring the customer seamlessly through an omnichannel platform, with intuitive interaction at every touchpoint – from researching and purchase and all the way through to owning, sharing, servicing and re-selling.’

In terms of safety, the LYNK & CO 01 will feature Forward Collision Warning (FCW) and Autonomous Emergency Brake (AEB), Pedestrian Detection with automatic emergency braking, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Blind Spot Detection (BSD) and Lane Departure Warning (LDW).

LYNK & CO is also introducing a new business model. While the industry traditionally relies heavily on a dealership model, LYNK & CO cars will be sold online or in owned stores in strategic retail locations, with fixed and transparent prices. Cars will be delivered, and picked up for service, directly at the door of the consumer. New solutions for car usage and access will be offered – from traditional ownership and leasing to subscription and sharing-membership.

LYNK & CO is expected to go on sale in China in 2017, followed by Europe and the US.