Would a similar business structure work in the United States?
Several automakers have experimented with subscription services in the United States. Except for Care By Volvo, most have seen limited success due to low vehicle availability and high cost. The US might be the wrong market for car subscription services, but we still believe the idea has merit, especially in places like Europe.
Chinese automaker Lynk & Co is now entering the European market with a new SUV called the 01. Unlike a traditional SUV, you can't purchase the 01; you subscribe to it.
Lynk & Co began its hassle-free delivery process in Europe, which will continue over the next several weeks. Members can currently pick up their cars at Lynk & Co Clubs in Gothenburg, Sweden and Amsterdam, the Netherlands, as well as touchpoints in other key cities. Lynk & Co will offer home deliveries for members who can't make it to the club locations.
Lynk & Co's mobility membership is unlike a traditional vehicle ownership model. Customers pay around $586 for a month-to-month membership that includes insurance and scheduled maintenance. If a member has the flexibility to share their car with a neighbor as an example, they can lower or even split the monthly cost.
This business model hinges on the statistic that cars remain parked 96% of the time, meaning there is a ton of time where they can be put to more efficient use. It also allows members and non-members to only pay for what they need. Someone living in a new city for a temporary job might only need a vehicle for six months, or someone traveling for business might only require a car for a few hours or days.
As for the car itself, it looks like something that might be popular here in the US. The Lynk & Co 01 is based on the same Compact Modular Architecture used by the 2021 Volvo XC40, though the drivetrain is significantly different. A hybrid model pairs a 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, combining to produce 197 horsepower and 215 lb-ft of torque with its electric motors. A plug-in version ups the output to 261 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque, while adding a 43-mile electric-only driving range.
Europeans can look forward to seeing the new 01 out on the road soon.