Chinese carmaker Geely has unveiled a compact SUV called the 01 which heralds the start of a new family of cars to be sold under the brand name Lynk & Co.

01

The 4.5-metre off-roader has a fresh, modern look to it with some styling cues from the upmarket Porsche Cayenne and Audi A5.

The 01 will be introduced to the Chinese market soon, before heading over to Europe and the United States during 2018, said company chief Alain Visser.

Key features of the Chinese sports utility are a high level of connectibility, designed to allow all future Lynk & Co cars to share data with one another and the marque’s own dedicated app store.

The cockpit of the 01 from the new brand Lynk & Co set up by Geely of China. (Handout, only to be used with this dpa trends item. Photo credit to "Lynk&Co / Geely / dpa" mandatory.)
The cockpit of the 01 from the new brand Lynk & Co set up by Geely of China. (Handout, only to be used with this dpa trends item. Photo credit to “Lynk&Co / Geely / dpa” mandatory.)

Geely, which is also the owner of Volvo Cars, says the 01 can be shared by anyone at anytime through a digital, smartphone-based entry key linked to an open platform. This will make it shareable rather like AirBnb homes, enabling owners to earn money on the side.

Geely also plans to cut dealers out of the sales equation by offering 01 models to customers via the internet, just as US electric carmaker Tesla does. Upcoming 01 variants include a saloon, a hatchback and crossover.

The SUV’s engine comes from Volvo. Either a 1.5-litre or 2-litre unit is mated to a dual-clutch transmission. Power reaches the front wheels or all four via an all-wheel-drive system.

There are hybridized versions and a pure electric is in the pipeline, said CEO Visser.

Prices are still secret, but are expected to be on a par with products from volume makers.

Volvo developed the 01 platform, which will also form the backbone of future compact models from the Swedish brand. Geely aims to boost its new range at some point with a larger car called the 02.

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