Polestar rethinks car ownership ahead of its debut luxury hybrid
Subscriptions for high-end vehicles are emerging as serious alternatives to traditional car ownership, with the likes of Porsche, Audi and BMW all recently launching services to that effect. Polestar made mention of a similar option for its forthcoming debut hybrid earlier this year, and has now shared more details on how the not-so-well heeled can get their mitts on its first luxury sedan.
Polestar, the performance arm of Volvo, recently spun out into its on electric car startup and first revealed details of its debut sedan called the Polestar 1 in October last year. Pumping out 600 hp (447 kW) and with 738 lb-ft (1,000 Nm) of torque, the car will be capable of traveling 150 km (93 mi) in electric only mode, which Volvo says is the farthest of any hybrid car in the world.
In April, Polestar revealed the car would carry a price tag US$155,000, €155,000 in Europe and 1.45 million RMB in China. But there will be other ways to get behind the wheel that don't involve that many zeroes, at least in the short or medium term. The company will offer a catch-all subscription model that requires no upfront payment and covers all motoring costs (think insurance, maintenance and the lease), leaving the customer to pay only for their gas on top.
This is part of the company's overall sales strategy, which it bills as something of a departure from the typical process of coming to own a car. In this "modern, fully digital customer experience," folks will be able customize and then order their cars online, after visiting the company's franchised "Polestar Space" to see its carbon fiber body in the flesh. With Polestar wheels and other bits and pieces on show inside, these stores will be part retail space and part exhibition space.
"As the customer will order the car online, they won't experience hard-sell, commission-based salespeople in a Polestar Space," says Thomas Ingenlath, Chief Executive Officer at Polestar. "Our customers will never feel pressure to sign a contract. Polestar is a multi-channel brand which is why it must be supported by a unique retail experience – one which embodies the Polestar philosophy in every way."
Production of the Polestar 1 will kick off in mid-2019, though all 200 to be made next year have already been preordered. The company's second vehicle will be its first full battery electric vehicle and is intended to directly rival the Tesla Model 3, so should carry a much friendlier price tag. A full reveal of the Polestar 2 is expected early 2019, with production to start a year later.