SUVs to form backbone of Lynk & Co in the Philippines
So now the cat is out of the bag: Lynk & Co is coming to the Philippines.
The distributor of Geely’s premium brand will be part of the UAAGI umbrella that also currently manages Chery and Foton. Once they set it up, it will mean that UAAGI will have a full spectrum of vehicles for various customers that require trucks and pick-ups (Foton), affordable crossover SUVs (Chery), and premium vehicles at good prices (Lynk & Co).
Yes, we have a lot to look forward to from Lynk & Co and from UAAGI. What is unusual is that Lynk & Co has previously adopted a direct-to-consumer business model (similar to Tesla) instead of a conventional brick-and-mortar dealership. We’re not quite sure if such a business model would work here given the need for aftersales and the fact that serious purchases like a house or a car are still traditional here. So the need for a distributor/importer partner is important.
But what models can we expect from Lynk & Co?
First off, it’s still a relatively new brand that was established in 2016 as an entirely new premium marque under Geely’s growing automotive empire. As you may well know, Geely has been acquiring many brands that include the UK’s Lotus and Malaysia’s Proton; that’s why Geely models in Malaysia are branded as Proton.
The acquisition of Swedish automaker Volvo in 2010 from Ford was perhaps the most significant, as the influx of expertise had a positive effect on Geely’s models moving forward. Through CEVT, they worked on new platforms, low displacement/high output engines, electrification, quality control, safety and more. And all of these things were shared across the group, meaning a lot of the these attributes we see and feel in Geely and Volvo models will also be present in Lynk & Co. In fact, Lynk & Co will serve as an in-between brand between Geely and Volvo in terms of market positioning. Semi-premium, so to speak.
So, what models are there? Lynk & Co is at the stage where their models are numbers with 01, 02, 03, 05, 06, 07, 08 and 09. There’s no 04 because, well, it’s an unlucky number in Chinese.
Here’s the kicker though: the numbering doesn’t denote the size of the vehicle. They don’t follow a similar logical trend that has been the backbone of automakers like BMW wherein the size (and luxury) of the vehicle increases as the number increases. Case in point: the Lynk & Co 01 is a 4.5 meter long compact crossover while the Lynk & Co 06 is a 4.3 meter subcompact crossover.
As for the actual models, we understand that the first two for the Philippines will be the two we just mentioned: the Lynk & Co 06 and the 01.
The 06 is an interesting model because we can already say that we have driven (and enjoyed) a vehicle that uses the platform. The 06 is a subcompact that uses the same BMA platform that underpins the Geely Coolray. The 01, on the other hand, is a larger 4.5 meter compact SUV that uses the CMA platform; that means it uses the same platform as the Volvo XC40.
As for engines, expect the 1.5L turbo engine that we’ve seen in a lot of Geely models already in the market. The reason is because importing a 1.5L from China means much-reduced import duties.
The 06 actually uses the same 177 PS 1.5TD engine as the Coolray, though there is a variant in China with the mild-hybrid similar to the one in the Okavango. The 01, on the other hand, is interesting because it uses a variety of engine configurations because the 1.5TD is very modular from the start, and there is also a 2.0L PHEV version. As to what the Philippine spec will be, we shall have to wait. It’s also unclear whether the initial models will have hybrid offerings, but we do know that PHEV variants are in the pipeline.
There is no word on exact pricing, but we’ve been told that the SRP of their models will be attractive to customers. As to what that means, we’ll have to wait a few months to find out.