Polestar Admits It Was Wrong About Retail Stores: ‘The American Customer, They Want the Car Now’

Polestar is relatively unknown in the U.S., though you might recognize its co-owner Volvo. We can see how Polestar’s small lineup took some inspiration from current Volvo cars, but the company is strictly focused on EVs. The only exception was its first car, the Polestar 1, but even that has a relatively sufficient hybrid powertrain.

However, you can’t just walk into a store and buy a car: first, you have to order it online. As you might imagine, it’s hard for the automaker to market its vehicles with its current business model. According to Automotive News, that’s why the company is ready to change its tactics.

What does Polestar offer?

A silver Polestar logo on the side of a tan building.
Polestar logo | Getty Images

Polestar was bought by Volvo in 2015, back when it was known as Polestar Performance. It had been a Volvo partner for years, modifying existing cars for racing teams. The company went off on its own in 2017 to focus on making electric vehicles and developing unique vehicle technology.

It currently only has two models available, and one of them won’t come back for 2022. The Polestar 1 was never available in the U.S., but you can buy the Polestar 2 in select areas. A subsequently-numbered model will be released in three years.

Polestar’s new retail model

When manufacturer entered the market two years ago, it opened just a handful of stores with a smaller footprint in mind. These Polestar Spaces currently don’t have dedicated showrooms, but you can pre-order vehicles online and have them delivered there. However, the company quickly realized that the majority of American consumers prefer instant gratification.

The primary reason the automaker kept this strategy is because of how difficult it is to import its vehicles. Getting a few units through U.S. ports, onto a truck, and to the showroom takes at least 15 days. Additionally, that was plenty of time for customers to change their minds and purchase a car elsewhere.

Polestar has made a little progress toward tweaking that business model, keeping a few cars in stock for on-the-spot purchases. By the end of 2022, the company wants to have 35 new Spaces in 17 states.

The latest vehicle offerings

Americans can currently experience the Polestar 2, a mid-size hatchback. The 2021 model only had AWD, but FWD was added for 2022 at a cheaper price point. Still, even the latest Polestar 2 Dual Motor AWD costs $10,000 less than it did last year.

The new Polestar 2 Single Motor makes 231 hp from the motor on the front axle. It’s capable of 265 miles of range, making it more efficient than the Dual Motor model. Sadly, this one can’t be optioned with the available Performance package.

The Polestar 2 Dual Motor makes a combined output of 408 hp and a range of 249 miles. According to Car and Driver, that’s the quickest model, reaching 60 mph in 4.1 seconds with the Performance package. An extra $5,000 gives you Brembo front brakes, bigger tires, a sportier suspension, and adjustable dampers. Both models come with three levels of regenerative braking.

Both Polestar 2 trims also come with nearly identical interiors, made from recycled and environmentally-friendly luxury materials. The infotainment screen divides its features into four boxes, simplifying the learning curve. The only notable option is the mechanical heat pump, which Polestar claims will increase the vehicle’s range.

Car and Driver say that the Polestar 3 SUV will be released sometime next year. Pricing figures and powertrain specs aren’t available yet, but it might be able to achieve full self-driving with Volvo’s lidar technology. If the company’s new business model works out, you might be able to test drive it at a Polestar store near you.

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