Zeekr – Geely Launches New Premium EV Brand in China
Geely has been making some wild business moves in recent years. Ever since buying Volvo from Ford back in 2010, the company seems to have gone from strength to strength, posting growing sales numbers, spinning off Polestar, and snapping up iconic industry brands like Daimler and Lotus Cars along the way. The company’s offerings seem to have flourished under their own brand, as well, with recent Geely models seeming — from here, at least — to be as good as anything else in their class. It’s somewhat surprising, then, to learn that Geely has launched an all-new brand in China that’s being positioned as a premium luxury EV brand … and they’re calling it Zeekr.
First, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. The first car shown by Zeekr (Ji Ke, according to the press release) is very obviously the ZERO EV concept shown with Lynk & Co. badging on it as recently as January. Geely doesn’t exactly explain this, but the release does still list Lynk & Co. as one of its captive brands, despite lingering trademark issues (hint: it sounds like “Lincoln Co.”). As such, Geely’s real motivation remains a bit unclear, but “Zeekr” seems less likely to draw the ire of Ford’s trademark lawyers, so here we are.
So, there’s been a bit of name-change, but don’t let that take away from the fact that this new Zeekr 001 shooting brake/GT thing seems to have everything it needs to be a really phenomenal vehicle. That includes a sub-4-second 0-60 MPH time, sporty vehicle dynamics, and over 400 miles of driving range thanks to a massive 800V battery pack that sends power to compact and efficient electric motors that were co-developed with Volvo and Polestar.
And, oddly enough, Zeekr seems to be to Geely what Lincoln is to Ford. Namely, an upscale offering utilizing the parent company’s economies of scale to drive down costs while, at the same time, serving as something of a testbed for new, expensive technologies and dealer programs. You can see that in Geely’s official release, which reads, “Zeekr will create a new ecosystem that is focused on the full integration of the end user into a new super ecosystem focusing on the full service of end user requirements with an innovation as standard approach in terms of sales and servicing.”
If that’s not corporate brandspeak, I don’t know what is.
Expect that the first batch of Zeekr-branded cars to reach dealers later in Q2, with a features list that probably includes pre-paid maintenance, over-the-air software updates, and some kind of subscription model for ordering. Regardless, I’d love to see something like this make its way to the US. Maybe position it as something between the Volvo C40 and XC60 offerings? Worth a look, I think — what about you? Do you think the Zeekr is a Winnr, or a Losr? Check out the pictures below, then scroll on down to the comments section and let us know.
Geely Zeekr 001 | Image Gallery
Source | Images: Geely, via Paul Tan.