Shock: an unconventional car being sold by an unconventional manufacturer that isn’t Tesla has sold out within minutes of going on sale.
It’s the kind of hype that traditional car makers can only dream of. When the Lynk & Co 01 went on pre-sale online in China last week, its 6,000-strong allocation sold out with two minutes and 17 seconds. Putting a PR spin on it, that makes it “the world’s fast selling car”, says the firm.
While Lynk & Co won’t arrive in the UK until 2019, post-pre-sale orders are now being taken for the 01 SUV in China. Prices start at RMB158,800, rising to RMB202,800 (approximately £18,000 – £23,000).
The firm snubs conventional dealerships in favour of online sales and company-owned (rather than franchise) stores. A total of 150 ‘brand boutiques’ and stores are being opened across China, incorporating children’s play areas, cafes and even a cinema.
“We announced the birth of Lynk & Co almost exactly one year ago,” said Lynk & Co’s senior vice president, Alain Visser. “Now, just 12 months later, we start sales of our connected and shareable 01 SUV in record fashion. Whether you choose to join online or in store, we promise a unique and enjoyable experience.
“Online, it couldn’t be more simple, we have replicated the in-store experience and simplicity of choice with our unique ‘explorator’ carousel. Just stop on the car you like and subscribe online – it’s as simple as that, as Chinese customers have proven during our pre-sale event.
“We are immensely proud at the speed and scale of our launch. We promised to disrupt and shake things up, and now, the journey really begins.”
What is Lynk & Co?
Lynk & Co was launched last year by Geely, the Chinese firm that bought Volvo in 2010. Its aim is to be an unconventional car manufacturer, offering access to its cars through subscription services and car sharing schemes. Lynk & Co likens its subscription services to Spotify or Netflix: pay a flat all-inclusive monthly fee and you’ll be able to drive a new Lynk & Co model for as long as you want. Rather than being tied into a contract, like a traditional lease deal, you can hand the car back when it suits. You can also upgrade to different models within the range, once they arrive, should you need to for short periods.
Curiously, the firm is also offering a groundbreaking lifetime warranty on its cars. Details are thin at the moment, but it suggests customers will only have to pay for consumables – and even that it is only if they buy the car outright. Most buyers won’t.
The firm’s first car, named the 01, has been designed and engineered in Sweden with help from Volvo. It shares a platform with the Volvo XC40 and, currently, is available with a choice of petrol engines also sourced from Volvo. By the time it arrives in Europe, however, the only choice will be whether you want a hybrid, plug-in hybrid or fully-electric model.
Information on future models is sketchy, but Lynk & Co revealed its 03 concept earlier this year.