Lynk & Co’s global expansion is set to continue in early 2024. Having already made its way to seven markets in Europe, the brand is set to enter its first right-hand-drive market within the next two years, with Autocar reporting an imminent launch in the United Kingdom.
The product strategy will be different from the rest of the continent, where the company currently offers the facelifted 01 SUV in hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants. On the island nation, Lynk & Co will instead pursue an all-electric approach.
“As business is going so well in the other countries, we’re now accelerating the process of going to the UK, probably early 2024,” the brand’s global chief Alain Visser told the publication. “When we come to the UK, it’s probably going to be a full electric entry.”
While Lynk & Co doesn’t offer a pure electric vehicle at present, it came close to doing so with the Zero Concept, which was pulled from the brand at the last minute and turned into the Zeekr 001. “An EV is being planned,” Autocar reported a spokesperson as saying.
Such a model could take cues from a concept rather cumbersomely called The Next Day (referring to the gradated blue-to-gold paint scheme), which previews a new design direction for the brand. While the vertical twin-spar headlights and full-width taillights remain, the show car is as outlandish as they come, with four opposing butterfly doors, an intricate finned lower grille and wheels, heavily-sculpted flanks, taillight modules that move with the active rear spoiler and a roof and front windscreen made out of a single piece of glass.
Inside, The Next Day sports a minimalist denim-wrapped horizontal dashboard (with a woodgrain-like pattern) and a yoke-style steering wheel that folds away during autonomous driving. Plush blue velvet seats and hand-woven carpet add a luxurious air to this “new energy” GT.
While the car is said to feature the company’s E-Motive hybrid technology – a version of Geely’s Hi-X powertrain, with an engine driving the front wheels and an electric motor powering the rear – the aforementioned EV should incorporate many of these design cues.
New all-electric lineup aside, the UK should carry over the subscription model used in Europe, in which the company leases fully-specced versions of the 01 at a flat rate of €550 (RM2,560) a month, with the customer only able to choose between black and blue exterior colours. Users can also rent their cars to other people, with Visser claiming that some 20% of those in Europe do so.
Buyers on that side of the world should also expect smaller vehicles, rather than some of the larger models (like the 09) sold in China. “We see that our customers want compact vehicles that are small enough for the city and big enough for a small family,” Visser said. “It will be something in that customer profile.”
The start of sales in the UK will likely coincide with Malaysian production kicking off at Proton’s Tanjung Malim plant. The factory is widely tipped to be Geely’s right-hand-drive production hub – as was planned prior to the Chinese conglomerate obtaining a stake in the national carmaker.
Building RHD cars here would make sense, as it would also give the brand a leg-up on pricing – Lynk & Co is making an entry into the Malaysian market, after all, and it plans to do so by 2025. Other RHD markets planned are Australia and New Zealand, also slated for within the next three years.
GALLERY: Lynk & Co The Next Day