Chinese automotive startup Lynk & Co is reportedly looking to build cars in the U.S. A top contender for an assembly plant location is Ridgeville, South Carolina, where the automaker’s parent company, Geely, conveniently owns another plant that is getting ready to produce Volvos.
According to Automotive News, Lynk & Co senior vice president Alain Visser confirmed to Reuters last November that South Carolina is under close examination. China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group owns Volvo, Lynk & Co, and the Chinese-market Geely brand.
Lynk & Co is billing itself as a different sort of car company—one where, according to its own website, “The car is almost beside the point.” Nor is Lynk & Co “trying to make you buy a car,” a subtly anti-authority message aimed squarely at Millennials.
The cars will be made available via purchase, lease or subscription. They will also come equipped with built-in features that make car sharing easy, so owners can operate their own little Zipcar empire. Of course, they will all be “connected” to a variety of social media networks.
A South Carolina location makes a lot of sense for Lynk & Co. The company says it will eschew a traditional dealer network, and as the trade journal’s report furthers, “with consumers piecing together options online and ordering their cars directly from the factory.”
With such an open-ended system, a base of operations that has suppliers, distribution and warehousing shared with a traditionally built car—presumably, Volvos will still be sold through traditional channels—may be the only cost-effective solution. Plus, we already know that Lynk & Co cars will share modular platforms with other Volvo and Geely models.
Lynk & Co’s first model, appropriately named the 01, went on sale in China in November.
-- by Ben Hsu