”What are you asking me? I don’t want a car! Where would I park it? Where would I service it? If I need transportation, I will find it one way or another in an easier way.”
Alain Visser’s son looked at him with a pained expression on his face when he asked him what car he wanted for his 18th birthday.
— I have been working in the car industry for more than 30 years, but that’s when it really hit me; for the last 100 years or so, the car world has focused solely on making cars better. The trouble is, today people don’t want better cars, they want a cleverer mobility offer, he states.
And how do you do things differently?
— We do make really good cars with all features included, but we also offer a new way of using them. Instead of buying a car for tens of thousands of euros or being stuck in a 36-month lease, we came up with this membership-based approach that gives members access to a car on a flexible basis with the ability to share the car with friends, family, and our community.
”The average car is only in use for 4% of the time”
The subscription model, Visser shares, can best be described as a streaming platform for mobility.
— It’s a month-to-month membership that gives you a car and which you can cancel any time. For €500 a month you get a brand new car with insurance and maintenance included. You can also easily use our sharing platform to share your car when you’re not using it, lowering your monthly cost significantly. And, our view on sustainability is about more than just the car. The average car is only in use for 4% of the time and the rest of the time, it’s parked. By using the sharing platform, members can share resources and reduce the overall number of cars on the street. With a focus on growing our membership community, and not on selling cars, our business model encourages more efficient use of resources. And, the membership model itself encourages people to share vehicles.
Tell us about your range.
— I think there are a lot of people who get confused by the nitty-gritty details and minor decisions that usually come with getting a new car. Having too many choices makes it harder to pick the right one, which is why we want to keep this part of the process extremely simple, says Visser.
— The 01 model will be offered exclusively in electrified powertrains, and the interior of the car will be outfitted in ECONYL, a material made of recycled fishing lines. As mentioned, it comes fully loaded with all the features you want and a few surprises you’ll never expect. It’s a car with fun features, high-tech details, and a 69 km pure electric range for the plug-in hybrid motor. The range is actually within the top of its segment and enables drivers to do a majority of those daily trips fully powered by electricity. In fact, all you have to do is choose between two types of hybrid motors and pick a color — black or blue.
As a sister brand to Volvo, Visser states how the range will offer customers world-class safety.
— The 01 is based on the Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) the same that’s underpinning the Volvo XC40.
The cars have been designed and engineered by a team based in Gothenburg, using the latest architecture. That’s also where their second special concept store, called a Club, just opened, following Amsterdam’s last fall.
— The general idea is to push beyond traditional automotive retail by offering something entirely different. Yes, there’s a car tucked away in there, but that’s not really the point with our Clubs, says Visser. They are more like a full sensory experience with attention paid to the smallest detail. Of course, people who come there are invited to test drive our cars, but they can also use it for work, meetings, dates, shopping, or just for hanging out. Once it becomes safe for people to gather again, we will start hosting events like film screenings, art shows, and DJ nights. And, everything in the Club is available for purchase, from coffee mugs to clothes, furniture, art pieces, and the car, says Visser, adding,
— The Gothenburg Club was designed to contrast the Scandinavian simplicity with the city’s raw, industrial character. We’ve also managed to get a few Easter eggs in there, like a hidden speakeasy, a furry pink fitting room, and of course a sauna, because we are still in Scandinavia after all.
What do you think about the future of mobility and for the car industry?
— More and more people don’t really want a car, they just need to use one. More and more people choose experiences over ownership. And more and more care about the environment. Ownership is becoming less important, people still want to drive a car but buying and owning a car is not necessarily what these people want. And we think those people deserve, well, more.
— We figured that what we need to do is to offer mobility, rather than just selling cars, and we started with the idea that mobility can be better. That’s why our membership plans give you exactly as much car as you want and, as mentioned, the ability to share with your friends and family.
The Lynk & Co cars are delivered in spring 2021 together with the opening of the third and fourth Clubs in Europe, in Berlin and Antwerp, to be followed by Milan and Barcelona.