Report: JLR Mulls Lynk Rival in China

July 11, 2018 at 2:02 PM

Jaguar Land Rover Ltd. is in talks with its Chinese joint venture partner, Chery Automobile Co., about launching a new brand that would compete against Geely Automobile Holding Co.’s Lynk & Co. unit, according to Chinese media reports.

The new JLR/Chery venture would focus on mid-range electrified vehicles with telematic connectivity capabilities, the reports say. Shared vehicle ownership schemes similar to Geely’s subscription plans also could be offered.

Recent management changes at Chery could be a precursor to a new joint venture with JLR, analysts speculate. They also point to JLR’s latest trademark filings for the Rover name, which could be revived with the proposed brand.

JLR insists there are no plans to launch a new brand. The company also notes that it regularly updates the Rover trademark to protect the name, which was part of Ford’s sale of JLR to Tata Motors in 2008.

Nanjing Automobile (now part of SAIC Motor) bought the assets of MG Rover (including the MG name but not Rover) out of bankruptcy in 2005. Former Rover models are now marketed under SAIC’s Roewe brand in China.

JLR and Chery currently build the Range Rover Evoque and Discovery SUVs and Jaguar XEL and XFL sports cars in China. The partners also are launching production of the Jaguar E-Pace crossover this year at a new factory in Changshu.