Marketing Tour to Promote Polestar 3 to U.S. Buyers

Polestar is looking to grow global sales more than 50% in 2023.

Jim Henry

April 3, 2023

3 Min Read
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Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath introduces new Polestar 3 in New York.

NEW YORK – Polestar officially kicks off a $20 million North American marketing and advertising campaign via both digital and more traditional media, including network TV, for the battery-powered Polestar 3 CUV April 4.

“The order book is open,” Gregor Hembrough, head of Polestar USA, says in an interview prior to a glitzy Polestar 3 launch event March 28 in Manhattan. “We’re already getting offers.”

Reservations require a fully refundable deposit of $1,000, according to Polestar USA’s consumer website. Hembrough says the target is to begin deliveries in October 2023 in the U.S. and Canada.

Polestar is a partnership between Sweden’s Volvo Car and China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, Volvo’s parent company, and is listed on the NASDAQ exchange.

Global Polestar deliveries for 2022 totaled 51,491, up 80% from 2021, the company says. The target for 2023 is 80,000 units. The Polestar 2 model is expected to account for most of the increase in 2023, Hembrough says.

The new Polestar 3 starts at $85,300, including $1,400 destination charge. Hembrough says the model is expected to qualify for a U.S. government tax break of $7,500 on leased vehicles.

The CUV features a new aerodynamic profile and wider stance, with a dual motor configuration that provides a total 483 hp and 620 lb.-ft. (840 Nm) of torque. An optional Performance Pack boosts output to 510 hp and 671 lb.-ft. (910 Nm). It also is equipped with a Luminar lidar sensor that is expected to enable advanced driver-assistance features.

Production is scheduled to launch in Chengdu, China, beginning mid-2023, but the vehicle also will be built at Volvo Cars’ South Carolina plant beginning mid-2024.

Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath says the New York debut marks the kickoff of a North American road show that will include events at dealerships, where prospective buyers can become more familiar with the Polestar brand and take a close look at the Polestar 3.

“After tonight, we go to L.A.,” Ingenlath says – specifically, Beverly Hills and Orange County, according to Hembrough. Other stops include Portland, OR; San Francisco; Seattle; Atlanta; Boston; Washington; and Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Naples, FL, Hembrough says.

Polestar customers can configure and order their vehicles online and choose a dealership where they will take delivery and which will serve as their local Polestar contact. Volvo assigns the nearest dealer whenever the customer doesn‘t specify one.

That non-traditional sales approach has some Volvo dealers worried dealerships will be less directly involved with customers, as a result.

But Veteran Volvo and Polestar dealer Kjell Bergh, chairman and CEO of Borton Volvo outside of Minneapolis, says he’s not concerned about the digital sales approach. In an interview at the NADA Show in Dallas in January, Bergh says service business for Polestar more than makes up for any issues with digital sales.

“There’s a small showroom that’s exclusive to Polestar, but the service is done at the Volvo dealership,” Bergh says. “The service business is very good.”

And besides, Bergh says dealers are just coming off “the best damn two years we ever had” financially, due to high demand and limited supply. In 2022, “the average dealer probably made more in a month than they used to make in a year,” he adds.

Tennessee-based Ernie Norcross II, the owner of Volvo of Memphis and chairman of the Volvo Cars USA dealer council, says he is wary of the scheme, however.

Norcross says the current, franchised dealership system is worth defending. He calls it, “a hill to die on,” in a separate interview at the NADA Show.

Polestar currently has 29 U.S. dealerships. It wants to increase that to 40 in the U.S. market and Canada combined by the end of 2023, Hembrough says. He says Canada accounts for roughly 10% of the total U.S. and Canada dealer network.

All Polestar dealerships belong to Volvo dealers, Hembrough says. “The criteria has always been to have a Volvo dealer affiliation.”

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