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This is the Lynk & Co 01, the first product of a new brand set up by Geely, the Chinese carmaker and owner of Volvo. Sounding more like a hipster cafe or fashion brand, Lynk & Co and the 01 SUV was unveiled by Geely boss Li Shufu in Berlin yesterday.

Designed and engineered in Sweden, the Lynk & Co 01 is claimed by its makers to be “the most connected car to date” made to “address the needs and preferences of the new global and connected generation.” Those behind the brand says that it’ll be the first Chinese-made car to be sold in volume in Europe. Ready to hit the market next year.

According to Autocar, the new brand’s design philosophy was developed at Geely Design in Sweden, headed by group executive VP and former Volvo design chief Peter Horbury. Designers say their aim was to create a strong personality that captures both European and Chinese genes.

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“The design brief was simple. Our car needed to stand out from the crowd and appeal to a global audience. Our users will be extremely tech-savvy. Our interior design reflects this and feels familiar in the context of new technology,” explained head of design Andreas Nilsson.

Lynk & Co’s 4.6m-long SUV will be based on the Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) platform shared with Volvo’s upcoming XC40 SUV. Not much about the oily bits have been revealed, but the UK mag says that the 01 is likely to have a range of turbo engines from Volvo’s family of 2.0 litre four-cylinder and new 1.5 litre three-cylinder units.

Geely/Volvo director Carl-Peter Forster said that a plug-in hybrid version will follow, with electric drive for both axles. A six-speed manual and seven-speed dual-clutch auto will be the transmissions offered.

“We have developed state-of-the-art cars that are strong, lightweight, efficient, fun to drive,” said Mats Fagerhag, R&D boss of a shared Geely-Volvo R&D centre called China Euro Vehicle Technology (CEVT).

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The 01 will always be connected to the Internet and to its own cloud, with a ‘share’ button allowing owners to control, monitor and share their cars via smartphone. The SUV will have an open API (application programming interface) that will essentially allow independent developers to “enrich the automotive experience” of the 01 with ideas of their own. Sounds like an app store.

“Our industry has been refining design and engineering successfully for decades, but not so much the distribution and ownership model. Our customers’ values and preferences have evolved dramatically. It is time for us to step into the future,” senior VP Alain Visser told the car magazine.

With the planned 02 and 03 models, Lynk & Co will have “a premium, state-of-the-art range of cars at the most accessible price points,” said Visser, formerly from GM Europe and Ford. “Our aim is to enrich and simplify ownership by redefining how cars are bought, owned, connected, serviced and used,” he explained, adding that the new brand’s challenge is to offer customers a new route to market that features direct contact with the manufacturer, along with personalised services and hassle-free-ownership.

Google ‘Lynk & Co’ to check out the brand’s website. Cool, and not a car in it. What do you think of the 01?