The Polestar 1 is a hybrid sports car whose price is comparable to that of a supercar, at $ 155,000; The Polestar 2 is a fully electric sedan whose price is comparable to that of a Tesla Model 3, starting at $ 45,000. The Polestar 2 (which debuted this morning) is also very cool. Should Tesla be a little worried? Yes, Tesla should be a little worried.
Polestar, of course, belongs to Volvo, himself to Geely. After a slight flicker in the 2000s, Volvo could have found itself in the same situation as Saab, who died today, who declared bankruptcy in 2011. Instead, Geely bought the company and completely revitalized the company. Swedish brand. 600,000 cars last year, a record for them. The company also opened a huge new manufacturing plant in South Carolina, a timely decision considering Trump's trade war.
Volvo has completed its renaissance by building good cars and doing the opposite of what Elon Musk did with Tesla, building his company silently and without much fanfare. Do you know who Volvo's CEO is? You do not do it because Håkan Samuelsson, with 3,690 subscribers so far, do not waste your time on Twitter. (One could argue that Elon's presence on Twitter can be a good thing – he has often responded to complaints from valuable customers, for example, and it's a free advertisement for Tesla – but his use of Twitter also put him in trouble with the SEC, since he called a Thai lifeguard the cave is a "pedo" and, at one point, the Nazis thought it was theirs whistled, so this argument is increasingly difficult to sustain.)
Volvo's interiors are also the nicest in the industry, and its well-deserved reputation for safety has made the XC60 and XC90 a must-have for affluent families.
Which brings me to Polestar, Volvo's performance arm, its AMG or TRD version. The Polestar 1 is expected to reach its customers this year, followed closely by the Polestar 2. However, only 500 Polestar 1 will be produced, the 200 examples for North America have already been mentioned. The Polestar 2, however, will be a mass market, with a power of 400 horsepower, a sedan for customers Tesla Model 3.
Its starting price of 45,000 USD is the biggest indication that Polestar is entering the business world. Tesla said the base model 3 would start at $ 35,000 but that it never sold at that price, but was selling up to now better versions. .
In addition, Polestar will adopt a unique franchise model in the US, with no inventory, no service center, just a small showroom and a few representatives. This means that Polestar dealers will need to invest just over half a million dollars to open a "dealership" instead of ten or more times to open a more conventional dealer. This reflects somewhat what Tesla is doing, although the Polestar "concessions" are not all owned by the company, like Tesla's.
From Automotive News:
Polestar will operate stores ranging in size from 2,000 to 2,500 square feet (called "spaces") in busy urban areas, such as downtown neighborhoods, multipurpose developments and shopping centers.
"We want to make sure our retail partners have high throughput," [Polestar North American boss Hembrough] said, referring to the selection of its store sites. "High throughput obviously means high profitability."
A lower retail investment is also expected to contribute to the profitability of retailers.
"There is little demand from dealers regarding the identity of the company, or their development," Hembrough said.
This strategy aligns with Volvo's more global strategy to change the way we buy cars, via a subscription model – like the Care by Volvo system, complex but (sorry) innovative – or by online sales bias. Automotive News reports that Polestar will offer its cars for sale, rental or underwriting, which is a radical departure from Polestar's previous position in the matter, as it meant that all of its cars would only be available on subscription.
An important question that remains unanswered for the moment is whether you will be able to haggle, as Polestar customers will buy / rent / subscribe the car exclusively online. This seems unlikely, just as Tesla does not let its customers haggle – the price is the price, something that Tesla has managed to get at the moment because the demand was so huge. But will the demand for the Polestar be the same? It might be. The Polestar 1, for example, sold fairly quickly its first set of 500 copies.
A spokesman for Polestar said that there would be no haggling over subscription prices, but that the company is still sorting out the details for buyers and tenants, mainly because regulations vary from one state to the other and Polestar must examine them. Regarding this subscription model, Hembrough, North American director of Polestar, said the initial coverage had been exceeded, partly because of his fault:
"We are expanding the subscription as a possibility," Hembrough said. People "could have run away with the idea that it was the only channel. There is still some misunderstanding in the retail network among dealers. "
Hembrough expects that sales of Polestar 2 will be 70% to 30% between leasing / subscriptions and sales.
Volvo people keep telling me that Care by Volvo is very appealing to young buyers. I believe them because everyone hates dealers and myself, a millennium myself, prefers to buy things online, -mortier store and talk with a salesman who may or may not know what the hell they are talking about, and who may or may not have an ulterior motive.
In other words, Volvo and Polestar are betting that its product will sell itself. And they may be right! As much as the demand for Model 3 may have reached its limit, which is Tesla's next real problem.
And Polestar does not stop with the Polestar 2. The next Polestar 3, an electric SUV, is followed by a crossover and a roadster, the last car we learned for the first time Sunday. These promises may seem a bit elon-esque – is Polestar building a semi-trailer, but all we've seen from Polestar is the kind of slowness and stability that's always required to win in the automotive industry. And the company is backed by Geely, one of the world's largest automakers, which has some of the deepest pockets.
One of the great benefits of Tesla is, for the moment, its network of Supercharger fast charging stations, deployed in the United States for years. Polestar is nothing like that, but at least at the beginning, most of these cars will likely be sold in California, where many EV infrastructures already exist. Polestar also has the time, the Polestar 1 being a hybrid and the all-electric Polestar 2 will not be delivered until 2020, and probably later.
In other words, I would not be surprised if we all wake up tomorrow with 20 more years, while Tesla was overwhelmed by debt, a distant memory and Polestar had conquered the world.