Photo: Reuters/Norihiko Shirouzu

Volvo Cars, owned by China’s Geely, has announced it will begin production of Lynk & Co sport-utility vehicles in Belgium, marking the first time a Chinese auto brand has been manufactured in Europe.

“We see a big potential for this new brand entering the European market and we are happy to give Lynk & Co the support of Volvo’s technological and industrial expertise,” Volvo Cars chief executive Hakan Samuelsson was quoted by The Wall Street Journal as saying in a statement.

The move is part of Geely owner Li Shufu’s broader efforts to expand the Chinese automaker’s presence in the region. Last month, it was disclosed that Li had become the largest shareholder of Mercedes-Benz owner Daimler, a development that follows his acquisitions of London Taxi Co and Volvo.

“We will manufacture in Europe, for Europe, focusing initially on hybrid-only electrified derivatives of our new range of cars,” Lynk CEO Alain Visser said in a statement.

Lynk’s O1 model and potential future additions are reportedly able to be manufactured on the same production lines as the Volvo XC40, creating cost savings and the ability to ramp up production quickly.

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