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Volvo may build Lynk & CO vehicles in Belgium, U.S.
Reuters | 2017/12/1

BEIJING -- Zhejiang Geely Holding Group and Volvo Cars are considering production of vehicles for Lynk & CO at Volvo's assembly plant in Belgium. 

A senior company executive said South Carolina, where Volvo is building a plant, is also a potential production location.

Geely and Volvo jointly own the Lynk premium brand, which launched sales Tuesday in China. The new brand has scheduled its European debut in 2019, followed by a U.S. rollout in 2020.

Lynk¡¯s first model, the 01 compact crossover, starts at 158,800 yuan ($24,100). 

That model is produced on the same assembly line as the Volvo XC40 crossover in the Swedish automaker¡¯s assembly plant in Taizhou, on China's east coast. 

A second plant for Lynk & CO cars is expected to start production in the northeast city of Zhangjiakou next year. 

Volvo also will produce Lynk models in its European and American assembly plants, said Alain Visser, senior vice president of Lynk & CO. 

"We have always said our manufacturing footprint will be global,¡± Visser noted. ¡°It's obvious that we are talking to Volvo to see whether there are opportunities¡± to produce cars for Lynk, he said. 

Volvo's assembly plant in Ghent, Belgium, is "an option we are looking at" and the Volvo plant under construction in South Carolina is another candidate, Visser said. 

"A decision hasn't been made for those plants. But we are looking into that," he said. 

A Volvo spokesman told Automotive News Europe that building Lynk & CO cars in Belgium is a "possibility" but ruled out production at Volvo's new U.S. factory. 

Lynk & CO sales began in China with plans for only a limited network of franchise showrooms in city centers and larger dealerships in suburban areas. The intention is to sell more cars online. 

The brand also will experiment with a subscription model where "people, just like with mobile phones, can subscribe for a month, 10 months, 20 months for a period of time, so you don't just buy a car, you buy mobility," Visser said at a media event on Tuesday in Ningbo, eastern China. 

Lynk cars initially will be powered by gasoline engines, with future plans for gasoline-electric hybrid, plug- in hybrid, and all-electric versions. 

Under consideration for Europe and the U.S. is the sale of electrified versions only, sold directly without the traditional dealer-based distribution network, Visser said. 

The launch of Lynk sales in China caps a decade of preparation by Geely to improve its prospects in a market dominated by global automakers. To that end, Geely founder Li Shufu bought Volvo Cars in 2010, giving him access to Volvo's engineering know-how. 

By the end of 2021, Lynk & CO aims to sell 500,000 cars annually with five to six models, Visser said. Half will be sold in China, and the other half will be split equally between Europe and the U.S., Visser told Automotive News Europe in July. 

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