After first taking a look at the Geely and Geometry brands, this second feature in a series examining the divisions of ZGH turns the focus to Lynk & Co. 

Lynk’s wholesale deliveries to Chinese buyers are up a startling 28 per cent in a market for passenger vehicles down by 15 per cent. What’s going on? The answer is a combination of good planning and luck.

Data for June aren’t available just yet. Nonetheless the latest statistics reveal a strong performance for Lynk for the year to the end of May, even though the original 01 model seems to be in serious trouble. That car’s wholesale deliveries fell 41 per cent to 4,104 in May itself (and 21,651 YtD).

The good news for Geely is that two additional models, the 02 and 03, are picking up the slack. It’s the 03 which is proving to be the more popular of the pair with a total of 15,799 delivered between 1 January and 31 May. The equivalent number for the 02 was 9,072. Wholesales in May were 3,046 for the 03 and 2,040 deliveries for the 02.

All of this gives the brand a tally of 47,222 units over the five months, which is a respectable achievement when you consider how badly so many other brands are performing. Great Wall’s formerly high flying Wey is one such example, its deliveries dropping by 40 per cent to 40,129 in the same period.

Proving how volatile the Chinese market continues to be, Lynk is now being outsold by Volvo which enjoyed a 28.5% surge in May to 11,489 locally produced vehicles (and Ford was also pipped by Volvo, its May equivalent was 10,731 vehicles, -65.5%) giving it a YtD total of 43,648. Other brands around the same level as where Lynk ended May include Jetour, Chery Auto’s amazingly successful new division (46,256) and Venucia (46,875).

Alain Visser, Lynk & Co’s senior vice president of marketing and sales, has told the media on several occasions that he saw around 500,000 sales of the brand’s vehicles as soon as 2020. China had been expected to take 55 per cent of that volume, with the remainder split fairly evenly between Europe and the USA. Due to delays in launching the brand and the ongoing downturn in China, even half of Visser’s stated goal looks wildly fantastic.

Extra models are on the way, so who knows – it’s possible that Lynk could cross the quarter million mark per annum in the early 2020s provided that the Chinese market recovers and that the brand’s proposed launches in the US and Europe take place and are successful.

Existing models

The 01 is, logically, where it all began. This crossover was the first vehicle for Lynk & Co which ZGH believes sits above Geely and below Volvo. The 01, which shares a platform with the Volvo XC40 and various Geely models, became available for buyers in China during December 2017.

At AutoChina 2018, it was announced that production of the first Lynk & Co 01 PHEV for Europe would begin in 2019 at Volvo Cars’ Ghent factory. In November 2018, Volvo Cars said the first Lynk cars would be built at Ghent in late 2019 and delivered to buyers in early 2020. Only the PHEV is expected to be made in Belgium.

Alain Visser, Lynk & Co’s senior vice president of marketing and sales, told the media on several occasions in recent years that he saw around 500,000 sales of the brand’s vehicles as soon as 2020. China had been expected to take 55 per cent of that volume, with the remainder split fairly evenly between Europe and the USA. Due to delays in launching the brand and the ongoing downturn in China, even half of Visser’s stated goal looks wildly fantastic.

Prototypes of what appeared to be extended versions of the 01 were photographed on test in Sweden in March. It is not yet known if this means there will be a lengthened 01 or whether these disguised vehicles were previews of another model. A few weeks later, a minor facelift for the 01 was announced at the Shanghai motor show. There should be another round of changes to the exterior in 2021 and then a replacement model in 2024.

The 02 is not dissimilar to the 01. Production of this five-door ‘sport crossover SUV’ as its maker calls it, commenced in April 2018. The first deliveries took place two months later. One of the external differences are wheelarch extensions. These lend the 02 more of an SUV look.

Cars for the USA (San Francisco at first) and Europe are due to follow. The 02 is presently made solely in China at a plant in the Luqiao District of Taizhou. It might also be built in Belgium alongside the 01 (and other models in a second phase if the brand proves to be successful in Europe).

European sales outlets had been planned for Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels and London. However, in January 2019, the division instead named Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Stockholm and London as its first five regional cities. Others will be served by temporary shops.

There are three transmissions: a six-speed manual, a six-speed automatic or a seven-speed DCT. As for engines, there are also three choices: 1.5-litre petrol three-cylinder turbo, 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo plus one electric motor plug-in hybrid, or 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol turbo.

There should be a facelift for the 02 range in 2021 with a replacement due in 2025.

The 03, the brand’s first sedan, premiered in concept form at April 2017’s Auto Shanghai but it took until the Chengdu motor show in September 2018 for the production car to be revealed. Sales got underway one month later.

The 03 PHEV did not make its public premiere in series production form until the Shanghai motor show in April. Powering it is the familiar combination of a 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol engine and one electric motor.

The 03 Performance and 03 Halo variants will be added later in 2019. Then comes a facelift for all variants in 2022 and a successor in 2025. Like other existing Lynk models, that car should be based on an evolution of the existing platform, likely to be called CMA2.

Future models

The 04 is expected to be a crossover, based on the 02 five-door hatchback. There should be three transmissions: a six-speed manual, a six-speed automatic or a seven-speed DCT. As for engines, there will also be three choices, each one a turbo: 1.5-litre three-cylinder, 1.5-litre three-cylinder PHEV or 2.0-litre four-cylinder.

The 05 is to be a coupe-crossover which should go on sale in China in 2020. Insiders say it will be 4,592mm long, 1,879mm wide and 1,628mm tall and based on the 01 but with its own body.

Geely is said to be planning to expand the Lynk & Co brand even further with the theoretical 06 and 07, each based on SPA (Scalable Product Architecture) and derived from the Volvo XC60 and XC90 respectively. The first of the two could become available as soon as 2020 with the second to follow in 2021 just as a new-shape XC90 is released. Production and the majority of sales would be in China. The third generation of Volvo’s largest SUV moves onto a fresh architecture called SPA2.

Reports for many other manufacturers’ future models are grouped in the OEM product strategy summaries section of just-auto.com.

Future product program intelligence

More detail on past, current and forthcoming models can be found in PLDB, the future vehicles database which is part of QUBE.

The next brands to be covered within the ZGH (Zhejiang Geely Holding Group) series will be Proton and Lotus, to be followed by features on Volvo Cars, then Polestar.