Lynk & Co shows off its first car, the Volvo-based 01 SUV

Say what you will about Chinese carmakers, but one thing can’t be denied – they have made progress faster than any other country, faster than even Korean carmakers, the previous record-holders for how quickly they went from making shoddily-built copies of models that were past their “best by” date to building desirable, potentially segment-topping cars. The latest evidence of such progress can be seen with the 01, the aptly-named first car from the newly-formed brand of the Geely conglomerate, Lynk & Co.

Give me the 5 key facts about the 01

  • It is built on the same Volvo-developed platform that the Swedish firm will use for its upcoming XC40 crossover
  • It was in fact designed in Sweden by Peter Horbury, Volvo’s ex-design chief
  • The target markets include the US and Europe
  • No details on engines yet, but expect Volvo-developed 3-cyl and 4-cyl turbocharged engines, supported by electric motors
  • Features a 10.1 inch touchscreen inside, in order to aid brand’s push into connectivity

It looks rather good!

Probably the biggest surprise about the 01 is just how good it looks. Looks are subjective, but it can’t be denied that the 01 sports a squat, planted stance, neat detailing and an interior that’s modern and stylish. Of course, once you look closer you start realizing that many of the design cues have been seen elsewhere (the staggered headlight setup, with the top units much like the Nissan Juke, and bottom ones similar to the Jeep Cherokee or Citroen C4 Picasso, the profile reminiscent of the Porsche Sport Turismo, the rear which looks a lot like the Citroen C4 Cactus, the list goes on…), but it all comes together very nicely indeed. The interior is even better, with a dash that blends the layout from Volvo’s C40, detailing from the new XC90 and Citroen C3 (vents), and a modern touchscreen to shame anything this side of a Tesla.

Will it sell?

Chinese brands have a less-than-stellar record in Europe, between the lamentable Landwind, the faltering pseudo-British MG and the failed wannabe-European Qoros. However, Lynk & Co has a lot of things going for it, once you get over its silly name:

  • It was conceived by one of the leading Chinese manufacturers, Geely, which also owns Volvo
  • The 01 is heavily based on the upcoming Volvo XC40 crossover
  • The brand will try to have its own USP, by pushing heavily into connectivity, both in terms of in-car entertainment, as well as built-in car-sharing features (making it easier for users to car-share and car-pool)

So, what do you think? Let us know in the poll and comments below:

Does the Lynk & Co 01 have what it takes to succeed in Europe and the US?

  • Possibly - the elements are all there, but it remains to be seen whether they were combined to make a tasty whole (45%, 20 Votes)
  • I doubt it - it won't be able to overcome the perception associated with Chinese cars (25%, 11 Votes)
  • Absolutely - it looks great, and has the engineering of Volvo to build on (18%, 8 Votes)
  • No way - it looks awful, no better than previous Chinese efforts (11%, 5 Votes)

Total Voters: 44

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  1. It all depends on how much will it cost. No one is going to pay premium-price for “made in China” car, even though it’s based on Swedish technology. “Rubbish” is what is associated with China. It’s coded in the heads of many Europeans, even though you or I may not agree with it.

  2. Well, market it as a Volvo! – don’t try to recruit a bunch of dealers who won’t put resources into it. Then it might do well. But perhaps it’s too close to the XC90 so they would cannibalize each other.

  3. @Artur – you’re right that the company will have a perception mountain to climb, and keen pricing should help. But I think as Mike points out the Volvo connection is crucial, as it’ll reassure people that the car is safe, unlike so many other Chinese cars before it.

  4. @Mike – you are right that this car would do well as a Volvo, but actually it’s twinned with one of the upcoming Volvo SUV models (not sure whether that will be the XC40 or XC60), so they can’t simply rename it. In my mind what Geely/Volvo are doing here is starting up a brand from scratch in a way that VAG did, in a way, with Skoda. When the Czech carmaker released the first Octavia, it was one of the first VAG product to benefit from the then-new PQ34 (before the VW Golf got it), giving the upstart brand a ton of credibility. I think Geely/Volvo are trying to do the same with Lynk & Co, though of course the brand is totally new, not just a reinvention as it was for Skoda.

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