LAS VEGAS – Find Lynk & Co at CES 2023 it didn’t particularly surprise us, at least on paper. After all, this edition of the American fair was strongly focused on the automotive industry. However, most of the car manufacturers presented themselves with models and prototypes to show as a preview to the world, Lynk & Co did not.
The Sino-Swedish company has carved out a small space for itself inside the Microsoft stand, without cars and without futuristic proposals. So why come all the way to Vegas? We asked Alain Visser, CEO di Lynk & Co.
A chat with Alain Visser at CES 2023
Alain Visser awaits us in a small reserved area within the Microsoft space. Seated at a table, he gets up as soon as he sees us coming, smiles and shakes our hands as he invites us to sit next to him.
We don’t want to steal too much of his time so we immediately ask him the question that you probably asked yourself: what is Lynk & Co doing at CES in Las Vegas? And why inside the Microsoft booth?
“We hadn’t actually planned to come to CES, we wouldn’t have come if it was up to us, though we worked with Microsoft to bring the Teams application to our cars. – Visser explains – We don’t want the car to be just a second home but also a second office. And, considering that people today spend a lot of time online for meetings via Zoom or Teams, we decided to bring the Teams app to our cars as well, mainly because this guarantees greater security than using the same app on the phone while on the go. it is inside the vehicle.”
Alain Visser, CEO di Lynk & Co
Thus was born the idea of working together with the American giant which, precisely by virtue of this partnership, decided to host Lynk & Co within its stand, also giving the company the opportunity to test the US marketa market in which the Sino-Swedish company has not yet landed.
“For now – underlines Visser – We have every intention of bringing our vehicles and our services here as well.”
Why services? Because Lynk & Co is a somewhat unusual car manufacturer. Currently, in Italy, the Lynk & Co 01 can be purchased, rented or taken using the car sharing option.
“99% of our customers choose the monthly subscription, 1% buy the car. I like to say we’re a bit like Spotify, but we also sell CDs. We also give people the option of car sharing, an option used by 20% of Lynk & Co drivers.
In Italy the percentages are a bit different because we have just started testing the app but in other countries the trend is certainly this.“
This trend, according to the CEO of Lynk & Co, is set to continue: “I think at some point people won’t want to buy a car anymore because more and more people will realize that it is not an efficient investment. – continues Visser – We will thus see car sharing and subscriptions grow further. At some point I think people who live in cities will stop buying a car“.
The optimism of the Chinese-Swedish company surprises us a bit given that 2022 has not been a particularly simple year for the company, grappling with the chip crisis and the recent energy crisis.
“The geopolitical situation has affected us both negatively and positively. – says Alain Visser – Negative because costs have risen and because, secondly, the chip crisis hit us deeply in 2022. However, now, considering the fact that we are part of a large group, which has the right to give priority to a specific production line, Lynk & Co is able to better respond to consumer requests. For instance, the wait in Italy has even dropped below a month, we are around 3-4 weeks. We are therefore able to deliver a car very quickly, we are probably the only ones who can do it at the moment.
Positive because car sales are falling, because people are worried about rising energy costs and this makes them wonder if they will be able to pay the car installments as well. But our model is different, it doesn’t require a long-term commitment. You can rent the car for just one month. Therefore, there is an increase in people who do not want to spend 20,000-30,000 euros, who do not want to sign a leasing contract for 2, 3 or 4 years but who are willing to make a commitment for just one month, knowing that if the following month they cannot more afford Lynk & Co, they can stop the rental. Here because I am convinced that our formula is the correct one.“
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While Alain Visser tells us how much car sharing and subscriptions are depopulating in Europe, we can’t help but wonder if this turnaround in the automotive market isn’t incredibly disadvantageous for a car manufacturer.
In short, 10 years ago owning a vehicle for getting around was essential. Buying a car was almost a milestone in a person’s life. Now, however, people – especially young people – tend to rely on car sharing, subscriptions and rentals, especially in big cities.
We therefore ask Visser if they are not worried about this turning point because yes, Lynk & Co is clearly aiming for services but the group that supports production today – Geely Automobile – is also based on the sale of cars. In fact, we remind you that the Chinese giant is the owner of Volvo, holds 51% of the British Lotus Cars, is the largest shareholder of Daimler AG and since September has acquired 7.60% of the ordinary share capital of Aston Martin.
“We want to be a mobility provider rather than a car manufacturer – Visser replies – Our goal is not to produce as many cars as possible. Of course, it is now that we are at the beginning because there are not yet enough cars that can be shared but in the long term our aim is not to have more cars but to make sure that they are used more. I’m sure there will be fewer cars in the future. And for those who only produce cars it will be a problem but for us it is the ultimate goal.”
Car rental guide: choose the form you prefer[/box]