When we write about life after December 2011, our eyes mostly turn to Trollhättan - wrongly. Many former Saab employees and managers are back in the Stallbacka. But at least as many, if not more, work in Gothenburg's Lindholmen.
What Mats Fägerhag, former Saab head of development, and his engineers have built from the proverbial nothing over the past few years, deserves a lot of respect. And it could be that the more exciting story takes place in Gothenburg. And not in Trollhättan.
Start with 200 employees. Many came from Saab.
While the previous Saab production site is still working on building an electric car based on the earlier 9-3, a completely new generation of vehicles and a new car brand has been created at CEVT in Gothenburg.
In October 2016 became the Lynk & Co 01 presented in Berlin and Gothenburg, drive in China, the first pre-production vehicles. The 01 and the new Volvo XC40 will be produced in a factory in China starting this fall. It is based on Gothenburg's modular CMA platform, which will also be the basis for other Volvo, Geely and Lynk vehicles. The market launch will be in 4. Quarter 2017 be in China, the sales plans are refreshingly different.
Alain Visser, Senior Vice President with Saab Germany past, breaks with the new brand with old, traditional sales structures. As an alternative to ordering via the Internet, own stores will be set up in cities, and Lynk & Co will deliver directly to the client. There are no discounts, instead fixed, binding prices for every customer.
The vehicles are then purchased at a flat rate and without a down payment. Comfortable, problem-free and, if possible, no inhibition threshold. This is how it should be in the future. Signed and the 01 is a short time later in front of the door. According to Visser, traditional leasing will only exist if the customer insists on it.
Lynk & Co wants to keep things simple for a young, urban audience. Adieu to the ultra-long surcharge lists; Model years are a thing of the past. Instead, there will be colors that depend on the season. The car as a mobility factor or as a trend item. Of course, a Lynk 01 is always online. Always connected to the cloud, it is the most connected vehicle on the planet.
Consistently aligned for the Internet of Things (IoT)
You could score points with a generation that grew up with a smartphone, who does not feel like talking to salespeople, is a horror for delivery times, and always wants to be online.
Impressively proven by a brand that we certainly did not have on the radar. Do we remember Roewe? Actually, the home of the Rover 75, which then fell into the hands of the Chinese. These made the Roewe brand from Rover because they did not have the naming rights.
In the years to come they tried, absolutely pointlessly, to combine technology from China with what they understand by English design and to make it attractive to customers. The result was the horrific of both worlds and didn't even appeal to the Chinese.
With the RX5 SUV they broke with British design tradition and sent in co-operation with Alibaba the first Chinese Internet car at the start. The Roewe RX5 became a bestseller. Every month, 20.000 vehicles go to young Internet-savvy customers.
Something similar, probably even more impressive, could be the case for Lynk in Q4 2017. The 01 is the first offering from a new brand that is consistently geared towards the Internet of Things (IoT). The 01 SUV will be followed by a compact hatchback, among other things. The other models are simply numbered. The Lynk 01 is followed by 02 - and so on. Again, things are kept simple.
Lynk & Co at the Mobile Word Congress in Barcelona
Lynk works consistently on the target group. Not only in China, also in Europe. Last week, Barcelona was the center of the net world. Almost every company could be found at the Mobile World Congress that has something to say on the subject of connected mobility. A must if you want to shape the future. Lynk & Co understood and invited them. This is how you bring a brand into conversation.
At the end of the year, around 2.000 developers were working for CEVT, not only in Gothenburg's Lindholmen, but also in Trollhättan and China. CEVT with the new brand Lynk & Co is the fastest growing automotive developer worldwide. A Swedish success story that began a little over 3 years ago with 200 engineers, most of whom came from Saab.
Europe is coming 2019
But there are also construction sites. Volvo dealers could take over the service for the electric cars and hybrids in the future. Negotiations are ongoing. The technology under the sheet is identical, the Lynk 01 could be the smarter deal compared to the XC40 - if you get it. Sales in Europe and North America should start in 2018. That was perhaps a bit too ambitious, the market launch was postponed to 2019.
2017 wanted CEVT and Lynk Co go something of the gas, said CEO Mats Fägerhag in an interview NyTeknik, Depends on what you mean by that. Last Monday, CEVT 74 welcomed new employees to Lindholmen.