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The Lynk & Co 02 crossover was unveiled in Amsterdam (Photo: Bongard)

AMSTERDAM -- Lynk & Co, which unveiled a new, smaller car model here last week, will also launch a new approach to car retailing in Europe.

The Chinese brand, which, like its sister company Volvo Cars, is part of China's Geely Group, will start selling its 01 SUV in 2019, when it begins building vehicles at a Volvo plant in Ghent, Belgium.

It will focus initially on hybrid-only electrified cars.

Lynk & Co began selling the 01 in China late last year. The 02 is a shorter and lower version of the car. Both are built on the compact modular architecture (CMA) platform that Geely and Volvo developed jointly. Volvo's XC40 sedan is also built on the platform.

In 2019, the company will have one store in most of Europe's capital cities. In addition, it will have traveling pop-up stores that will move across other cities.

Lynk & Co’s first European store will open in Amsterdam and similar facilities will follow soon after in Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels and London. The stores will be located in central fashion districts and will be more “fun brand boutiques” than traditional car dealerships.

Lynk & Co’s online store – at Lynkco.com – and its touring pop-up stores will complement the physical retail outlets.

Customers can either buy a Link & Co vehicle or subscribe to one for shorter or longer periods. "We will not just sell cars," said Link & Co senior vice president Alain Visser, "we will also sell mobility."

Visser said at the 02 unveiling that the brand's sales concept, which will use Volvo dealers for servicing, will yield substantial savings on the retail side of the business.

No decisions have been made on the role that Volvo dealerships may play in physically delivering cars to customers, Volvo executives said. And the brand provided no details on how future subscription models would be managed.

Contrary to the prevailing approach of most car brands, Lynk & Co vehicles will come in only eight configurations. This will reduce complexity and further push down costs, Visser said. "We won't have zillions of options," he said.

Geely’s plan to find alternative ways to sell or lease its cars is in line with a bigger trend in the auto industry to develop alternative business models.

Mercedes-Benz recently launched a pilot project in Germany that offers customers a flat rate to drive up to 12 Mercedes vehicles a year.

Luxury sports car maker Porsche has been testing a similar program in and around Atlanta, Georgia, since late 2017. Other car brands are also experimenting with similar programs.

-By Arjen Bongard