Business / Auto China

Geely gears up with new car brand

By Zhang Chunyan (China Daily) Updated: 2016-10-21 07:14

Automaker hopes to attract technology-savvy motorists in the world's major megacities

Chinese automaker Geely launched a new car brand-Lynk & Co-on Thursday in Berlin as it seeks to seize the midrange market.

The medium-sized, tech-laden SUV was developed by Geely's China Euro Vehicle Technology R&D center in Gothenburg, Sweden.

An Conghui, CEO of Geely, stressed the strong coordination, research and development between Geely and Volvo, which Geely acquired six years ago.

The R&D center has grown from nothing to more than 1,000 employees and consultants in just 3 years.

The design of the new Lynk & Co is a bit different from concept cars, and has a modern European look.

"This car points toward the future," said Peter Horbury, Geely's executive vice president of design. "It shows the design language is versatile and flexible."

Horbury said it aims to create a strong personality that has both European and Chinese characteristics.

The new brand is targeting tech-savvy drivers, especially young people in megacities such as Beijing, Shanghai, New York and London.

Andreas Nilsson, Geely's head of design, said: "Our car needed to stand out from the crowd and appeal to a global audience. Our interior design reflects this and feels familiar in the context of new technology."

The new brand is said to be an entirely new way to own and use the car. Registered owners will be able to rent out their car to others using the Lynk & Co app and a shareable digital key, said Alain Visser, senior vice president at Lynk & Co.

The first Lynk & Co vehicle will make its debut in China in 2017, and launch in Europe and the US in 2018.

Analysts say the brand is likely to be less luxurious than Volvo, but higher rated than Geely, and will go head-to-head with Volkswagen, Toyota, Ford and Hyundai.

Michael D Dunne, president of Dunne Automotive, an investment advisory company, said: "It combines Chinese financial and manufacturing efficiency with an international team of designers and engineers. It will compete with mainstream products."

But the road ahead for any new brand of auto can be bumpy.

Namrita Chow, principal analyst at IHS Automotive, a global information company, said the performance of the brand will depend on its price.

"One of the challenges will come from China's local producers" because many of them have also done well with R & D and sales in recent years, Chow said.

Geely saw sales of its feature-packed cars grow for 16 consecutive months to September.

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