TOKYO -- The Chinese-Swedish venture Lynk & Co has rolled out a new "connected car" featuring always-on internet, dedicated smartphone apps for vehicle management, and functions to facilitate carsharing.
The venture -- between Zhejiang Geely Holding Group and Volvo Cars -- announced the launch of its 03 sedan in an event at Fuji Speedway in central Japan's Shizuoka Prefecture on Oct. 19. This follows the 01 sports utility vehicle introduced in 2017 and the 02 crossover utility vehicle in June. All three vehicles are connected to the internet and have car-sharing functions.
The 03 with a 1.5 liter, three-cylinder gasoline turbo engine is priced from 116,800 yuan ($16,780).
Lynk executive vice president Alain Visser said the company aims for the same level of success as Netflix and Spotify content streaming services.
In an effort to brand itself as an innovator with a global presence, the company makes new vehicle announcements outside China, where the vehicles are initially sold. Previous models have been unveiled in Berlin and Amsterdam.
With the 03, Lynk is tapping into the Chinese preference for sedans, targeting younger consumers -- who the company believes are interested in carsharing and connected cars -- as well as the wealthy.
Lynk vehicles can be easily shared. If owners do not need their cars for an extended period -- for example, after arriving at work -- they can enable car-sharing. The vehicle then automatically searches for people interested in renting it for the allotted time. Smartphones installed with a dedicated Lynk app unlock the vehicle, eliminating the need to physically pass car keys.
This type of carsharing lets owners earn income from vehicles that would otherwise be idle for extended periods.
The company sold about 74,000 vehicles in the first nine months of the year, over 20% of which were purchased online. When it started accepting online orders for the 01 SUV, it received over 6,000 orders in the first two minutes, leading to what the company called "the world's fastest selling car."
Lynk is initially focusing on the Chinese market while testing the waters overseas. It hopes to enter European markets in 2020 and the U.S. in 2021.