IT’S not often someone gets to start their own car company.
But that’s exactly what Alain Visser got to do – after he’d convinced the people paying for it, that is.
You get to meet a few car company chiefs in this gig and take it from me, Alain isn’t your usual car company chief.
He did work at car companies like Opel and Volvo for more than 30 anos, but grew tired.
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“Car companies like to tell you how innovative they are, but in reality, they really aren’t,” Alain said in a sit down with The Sun.
“They’re so big and deciding on anything takes years – I wanted to do it differently.”
Alain got the chance while working for Volvo, and pitched the idea of Lynk & Co.
It’s all backed by Chinese giant Geely, but he admits it wasn’t easy convincing the suits it was a good idea at first.
“Lynk & Co is a club, most don’t own the car, they subscribe to it and you can cancel after a month if you want.
“Initially the guys at Geely weren’t keen!”
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But he persisted and now Lynk & Co just opened its 10th clubhouse, with plans to open in London in early 2024.
“The clubhouses aren’t dealerships,” explains Alain, “they’re a place for people to meet and relax and hopefully learn about Lynk & Co.
“We have DJs, art classes and local companies selling goods. In some, we don’t even have a car!”
In most of Europe, you pay Lynk & Co a flat rate of 550 Euros (£470) um mês, which gets you a premium plug-in-hybrid five-seat SUV called the 01.
It’s based on a Volvo XC40 but has its own look and feel and that monthly payment includes all insurance, tax, maintenance and tyres. One payment, that’s it.
O 01 is the only model in Europe, comes in just one trim level that’s stacked with equipment and you get the choice of only blue or black paint.
“Some car companies have billions of combinations to choose from,” said Alain, “but I like the idea that we offer two.”
Like Netflix, it’s all on a rolling monthly basis, so you can have the car for one month or 100, it’s up to you.
When you’re done, you just drop it back at your local hub, or it can be collected if you live close enough.
But Lynk & Co is also like Airbnb, because if you’re not using your car, you can hire it out to people to use and earn money back.
You can even set it to be used for free if you’re feeling charitable.
“We calculated that your car isn’t being used for as much as 96% of its life,” said Alain.
“That’s crazy. With us, you can download the app, put in when you aren’t using the car and choose how much people pay per hour.
“We have some people in Holland actually making more than 550 Euros a month from their car. I think that’s great.”
When Lynk & Co reaches London, it will be launched with an all-new SUV to subscribe to.
Alain wasn’t allowed to confirm exact details, but it will be a brand-new all-electric five-seater that we get here.
Eu obviamente pensei sobre isso, mas eu tinha um trabalho a fazer.”
Whether you’re using it like Netflix or Airbnb, car subscriptions and sharing are likely to become a big business in cities in the not-to-distant future.
Lynk & Co seems very well-placed to be at the forefront when it all kicks off.