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Missing Lynk set to be revealed

Coming up: China’s Geely and subsidiary Volvo have collaborated on a new sub-brand, Lynk & Co, that is designed to take Geely’s cars to the world.

Geely’s Lynk & Co sub-brand just days away from global rollout announcement

13 Oct 2016

A NEW Chinese car brand with Swedish design and engineering credentials is on the cards for Australia as part of a global roll-out from 2018.

Called Lynk & Co, the sub-brand of Hangzhou-based Zhejiang Geely Holding Group – owner of both Geely Auto and Volvo Car Corporation – apparently will target mainstream western competitors such as Toyota, Hyundai and General Motors.

Using Volvo’s new CMA (Compact Modular Architecture) platform that will underpin the new-generation Volvo V40 hatch, S40 sedan and XC40 SUV due in the next year or two, the Lynk & Co range is expected to slot between the entry level Geely line-up available in some markets, including China, and premium-segment Volvos available globally.

Years in development, Lynk & Co is due to be formally announced on October 20 according to a flashy but limited teaser website dedicated to the brand that, if images on the site are any guide, appears to be designed to appeal to a hip, connected generation of car buyers – hence the Lynk moniker.

Further details, including a potential car-sharing program, are expected to be spelled out at media events at Geely/Volvo’s joint vehicle development base in Gothenburg, Sweden, within weeks.

Chinese media reports suggest a compact SUV code-named CX11 will be the first Lync & Co vehicle off the Geely production lines. Such a vehicle has been spotted under test on Chinese roads.

However, GoAuto understands three Lynk & Co models based on the CMA platform are being readied for western markets, including Australia where distribution is set to be established by a factory controlled operation.

Geely put a toe in the water in the Australian market via West Australian-based Chinese Automotive Distributers – owned by Perth car dealer John Hughes – which sold the Geely MK light car in WA from 2010 to 2013.

Plans to roll out more models were shelved when the next car in the queue – the EC7 small sedan – scored only three stars in in-house NCAP testing.

At that point, it was decided to wait for Volvo-based models to come on stream to ensure solid safety and environmental credentials.

Geely’s design director Peter Horbury – a former head of design for Volvo and Ford North America – told Britain’s Auto Express in April that Geely was already working on cars due for Europe in 2018.

“The first car will be an SUV and it will be on a platform we have shown before,” he reportedly said.

Most pundits expect Lynk & Co models to employ Volvo’s new 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine that will also slot into the V40 and its siblings.

Like Volvo models, top-of-the-range Lynk & Co cars can be expected to get a petrol-electric hybrid powertrain.

It is unclear if Lynk & Co models will have an Aisin-sourced automatic transmission – like the newly launched Volvo S90 – or the Australian-engineered, Chinese-built DSI (Driveline Systems International) unit used in Geely cars in China and export markets, mainly in developing regions such as South America, Africa, Russia and its satellites, and the Middle East.

However, the cars will almost certainly be built in China for both Chinese domestic and export markets to keep costs down.

GoAuto has been told that right-hand-drive variants have been planned from the outset – a concept backed up by Mr Horbury who confirmed that the UK market was in the plans.

In Australia, Lynk & Co will become one of a flock of Chinese brands looking to establish a foothold. These include SAIC Motor’s MG that is about to reveal a three-model range this month.

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