Good luck to them, we at DTW cynically murmur. The story is not brand new but the launch date of October 20th is. Recent additions to the brandscape include Qoros, Borgward and DS and for two of them things don’t look so rosy. In the last decade China Brilliance had a go selling cars in Europe and that did not end so well. Existing middle market brands are not all thriving: Honda, Mitsubishi and Mazda struggle to support a full range. Rover and Saab have departed this turbulent world. Lancia teeters. Ford and Opel have difficulty with their more expensive vehicles. So, what sort of price bracket are Volvo and Geely going to be aiming for?
According to Volvo’s UK price list, the V40 (“within reach”) begins at £17,833. So, that’s the end of the middle market, as Volvo is positioning itself above that. Kia sell vehicles in the range £8,600 (Picanto) to £28,000 (Sorrento). I would consider Kia a middle market brand at this stage. Vauxhall have a price range starting from £8965 (Viva) to £22,000 for an Insignia Sports Tourer.
The general view is that such a move is highly risky. ” Lynk & Co will enter a tough Chinese auto market where the car industry has struggled with slowing economic growth since last year. Geely has weathered the slowdown better than most, with sales of its feature-packed cars growing for 16 consecutive months to September. Launching a new car brand can cost hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions, according to James Chao, Asia-Pacific chief for IHS Markit Automotive,” writes Automotive News. Iran’s Financial Tribune says “The last thing the Chinese automotive world needs is another brand”, said James Chao, Asia-Pacific chief of consultancy IHS Automotive. “The elimination of more brands in China should be the route””.
What kind of car is the new Lynk & Co vehicle? A CUV, is the answer. Here is one that is already finding out how hard life is for new brands: