Lynk & Co, the subsidiary of Geely that offers a unique approach to car ownership in Europe and Asia, is a fast growing brand winning over young buyers. New cars can be expensive, but Lynk & Co’s subscription model is unlike anything else in the industry.
Lynk & Co CEO Alain Visser sat down with EV Pulse at the 2023 CES show in Las Vegas to talk discuss how things were going, future North American plans, and how he believes his cars are a great choice in an economic downturn.
Visser is unlike most CEOs. He always appears to have a smile on his face and is refreshingly candid about his role in the changing car industry.
“We offer a true car subscription,” he tells us. “Other car subscription models are more like short term leases.”
More than once Visser makes the comment that his service is like Netflix for cars. If you want to subscribe for a month and then cancel, you can do that.
He believes that’s compelling during times of economic hardship. “You don’t have to commit,” he says.
Surely people would be switching cars out regularly if they could. We asked Visser now that he has data about his customers, how often are they switching cars and what was the company’s original projections?
“We offered the car for one month,” Visser says. “We hoped they’d keep it longer than one month.”
He continues, “We assumed in our business model that an owner would change cars twice a year. And now after two years we see that the average time that people keep the car is one year.”
Unlike Netflix, Lynk & Co promotes sharing.
“Within that month, you can share the car with our technology and reduce your monthly costs. Which nor Care by Volvo or any other car brand let you do that,” he adds.
If it sounds a little too good to be true, we can understand why.
“We don’t have dealerships, we have clubs.”
Lynk & Co limits the number of build choices and colors for its vehicles, builds them, and ships them to strategic locations for distribution. A potential buyer visits a club and can order the car right there. Thanks to smart distribution, delivery times are low, and with reduced manufacturing complexity, production costs are lowered.
In the United States a model like that would be difficult at this time due to dealership franchise regulation. Tesla, and more recent EV startups, are fighting that, but that means Lynk & Co just can’t open a club in the U.S. and head off to the races.
Visser very much wants to sell in the United States, but tells us, “We won’t do it until we can sell the same way we do elsewhere.”
You won’t see a Lynk & Co in the U.S. until you can walk into a club and subscribe to one on a month-to-month basis.
With some automakers trying to figure out ways to increase recurring revenue — such as subscriptions for features like heated seats — a car subscription seems like the ultimate expression of this desire.
We also admit that being able to try a car for a few months and be able to return it, without losing a ton of money or taking a massive ding to our credit sounds appealing. Especially these days when layoffs are looming and the future is uncertain.
Speaking of Netflix, Visser also tells us that he prefers the original Knives Out movie to Glass Onion — which we agree with — even though he enjoyed both movies.
It’s important for any subscription model to continue to produce bangers, and Lynk & Co appears to be doing just that.