The Chinese mobility provider Lynk & Co is launching an attack on VW, BMW and Daimler in Germany. After the recent start of its new business model in the capital Berlin, the offshoot of the large Geely corporation from Hangzhou, China, will soon start in Hamburg. Lynk & Co CEO Alain Visser announced this in an interview with NewsABC.net. In the metropolis on the Elbe, Lynk & Co will then meet modern service providers such as Moia, the ridesharing service from VW. After Berlin and Hamburg, the major German cities of Düsseldorf, Frankfurt / Main and Munich – BMW headquarters – are on Visser’s conquest agenda.
“I’m always surprised at how little the established vehicle manufacturers are still doing to meet the radically and rapidly changing customer needs,” said Visser. “The smartphone has changed more in the past five years than the automobile in the past fifty.” The Lynk & Co boss is convinced that electric drives, high-tech connectivity in cars and autonomous driving will be standard worldwide in the foreseeable future. “As a unique selling point, intelligent mobility is therefore gaining massive importance,” says Visser.
It is precisely here that Lynk & Co wants to score – against top-tier cars such as Mercedes-Benz, Opel and Ford, rental car companies such as Sixt, transport service providers à la Uber and thousands of taxi companies. And that with a completely new mobility concept. Its core is the online bookable membership at Lynk & Co for 500 euros per month. The total includes the provision of a compact SUV of the Lynk & Co 01 type with hybrid drive. The all-electric range of the Plug-in-01 is 70 kilometers. Then – when driving longer distances, for example overland – the combustion engine starts. All Lynk & Co SUVs for the German market are fully equipped at the factory, customers can only choose the paint color: black or blue.
The € 500 fee includes 1,250 free kilometers. Customers don’t have to worry about insurance, maintenance or repairs. The Lynk & Co memberships are concluded for one month, but longer if the user wishes. With the extremely short terms, you want to be as hip and risk-free for the targeted clientele “like Netflix or Spotify,” emphasized Visser.
“Buying a car just to own it is ‘old school,'” the former Ford and GM manager told NewsABC.net. “Fewer and fewer people want to spend 20,000 euros in cash or even more in one fell swoop or commit themselves to financing or leasing for 36 months.” According to an analysis by market researchers from Lynk & Co, this applies not only to relatively young road users, but increasingly also to older ones Target groups.
Lynk & Co’s customer concept includes setting up clubs reserved for members of the mobility provider in prime inner-city locations, where people can meet to work, chill or – if “Corona” allows it again – to celebrate. Each club offers a typical local feature to underline the bond with the respective market. In the recently opened club in Gothenburg, Sweden, for example, there is a stylized sauna as a conference room: “With us, you can chat instead of sweat,” joked Visser. The Lynk & Co driver left open with a smile whether the club in Berlin planned for the summer of this year will host a currywurst stand.
The Geely subsidiary’s market goals are ambitious. “By the end of 2023 we want to have more than 100,000 members in Europe,” announced Visser, “and then have 12 to 16 clubs on the continent.” For Germany – “by far our most important individual market,” as Visser emphasized – that is the calculation Company with around 20,000 members by the end of 2023.
And that’s just supposed to be the beginning. “We are a kind of experimental room for Geely,” said Visser, “and are internally regarded as ‘the wild horse in the stable’.” Company founder Li Shufu, with Geely now a major shareholder in the traditional German manufacturer Daimler, is primarily interested in business options with which the auto industry can be turned inside out. “When I try it out, my teams and I get a long leash from Li Shufu,” says Visser. And: “We still have many smart projects in the pipeline.”
Lynk & Co is generally open to collaborations with other companies, said the CEO. The company is already working with the Swedish e-scooter supplier Vässla. Visser muses, its power-driven scooter could be placed in the trunk of their Lynk & Co 01 for German club members, so that they can master the last mile from the parking lot to their home or workplace as comfortably as they can.
At the end of the interview, Visser had a warning ready for German rivals à la VW, BMW and Daimler, but also for Japanese companies such as Toyota or Hyundai / Kia from Korea: “The conventional automotive industry runs the risk of being disregarded as a mere supplier to the mobility industry . “Art break. Then Visser said: “We at Geely and Lynk & Co have understood that – and are accordingly positioning ourselves for the future.” Another break from art. With a serious expression Visser finally followed up: “Now – and with all his might.”