New company wants to be the "Zara of the automotive world"

Chinese auto giant Geely is preparing to take the hybrid and plug-in hybrids by storm when it launches Lynk & Co., its first full-scale global auto brand. Described as an “affordable premium brand,” Lynk & Co. is going to be positioned as a fresh alternative to the growing market of high-mobility brands led by Tesla.

Details behind the company are likely to be announced when the brand is launched on October 20, 2016, but it is expected to focus its attention on being an industry leader in mobility, hybrid technology, and down the road, electrification. The objective, it seems, is to not only offer its future models in the U.S. and Europe, but to actually become as big a player as Tesla.

It’s an ambitious goal, but from at least one aspect, Lynk & Co. has the advantage of having a company like Geely backing it up. Money is unlikely to be an issue as the new brand gets off the ground. Same with resources and manpower since Geely operates large facilities in China and Sweden and can tap Volvo’s own engineers and their industry know-how to build and develop its models.

Then again, the new brand will no doubt face its own challenges, not the least of which is the automatic burden of convincing customers to buy into what it’s selling. In any event, we should get more details about Lynk & Co. when Geely officially launches the brand later this month.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

It’s not going to be as easy as it looks

It’s one thing to make a big flashy announcement and promise the world to anybody who’ll listen. It’s another thing entirely to deliver on those promises, especially when the target audience is already used to a certain level of standards. That’s the challenge Geely stands to face when it launches its Lynk & Co.

I think the company understands this and it’s going to put measures in place to ensure that it doesn’t get too far ahead of itself. But even if it takes the cautious approach, which I suspect it will, there are still some issues that it has to sort out and a big part of that is the image that it wants to convey. According to Forbes, Lynk & Co. wants to be the “Zara of the auto world,” or the low-cost premium brand that offers high-quality products at cheaper costs. It’s an interesting comparison to make and an admirable one from a methodological point of view.

But it’s also dangerous since Lynk & Co. isn’t going to sell clothes; it’s going to sell cars that need to have a strong value for money proposition just so people will notice it. The company also needs to carefully balance the products it wants to sell with the image it wants to convey. It can’t tie itself up on one aspect of the business and expect the rest to follow. That’s a recipe for disaster, now more than ever with so many automakers venturing into the hybrid and EV segments. Then there’s the challenge of market acceptance, something that Lynk & Co will have to address at some point if it wants to gain some footing in the U.S. and Europe. Both regions have enforced stricter rules and emissions for automakers that even a company like Tesla is being affected in some respects.

If Geely wants Lynk & Co to be successful, it has to ensure the new company that it’s positioned to tackle this challenges head-on. Otherwise, what’s the point?

What do you think?
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