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What’s in a Brand? A Look at Polestar’s Tesla-Fighting Future


From Motor Trend

Auto brands with established history are pretty easy to track. Want to know when the next Toyota Corolla is coming? Well, Toyota churns out a new version every six years like clockwork. Wonder what BMW will call its next 3 Series models when they get new engines during their midcycle update? Odds are 320i, 330i, and M340i become 325i, 335i, and M345i. But what about brands without any history, like Volvo's new Polestar electric performance brand?


At the launch of the new 2020 Polestar 1 in San Francisco, I had a chance to ask Gregor Hembrough, head of Polestar in the Americas, and Axel Stenberg, the Polestar 1's technical concept leader, about what the future of Polestar looks like. Here's what I learned.


Think of Polestar like you think about your iPhone

Most automakers are completely happy keeping the brand equity of an established name when it comes time to introduce a new model. Volvo, for instance, replaced the 12-year-old XC90 in 2014 with a new model sharing the same name. Polestar has no plans to do this. When the Polestar 1's model cycle ends in three years, there won't be a new 2023 Polestar 1. Instead, Hembrough and Stenberg say Polestar will follow Apple's iPhone model, simply taking the next available number in sequence—like, for example, 4—and applying it to any potential Polestar 1 replacement.


This, according to Polestar, has the added benefit of giving the company complete freedom of breaking from the past when developing a potential successor. Using the Polestar 1 again as an example, a hypothetical replacement could be free to change its coupe profile in favor of becoming a four-door fastback, or even a wagon or SUV. It could also shed its plug-in hybrid powertrain for a full-electric setup.


Launching a new brand is hard

Getting a new brand name established in the automotive world is incredibly hard; Scion, despite the full backing of Toyota, died after 13 years. Other upstarts, such as Hyundai's Genesis luxury brand, are struggling to get noticed in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Polestar knows it has its work cut out for it, especially considering the 1 shares its design language with the rest of the Volvo line (interestingly, because it was initially supposed to be a Volvo). The Polestar 2, Polestar's Tesla Model 3 fighter, breaks from the Volvo mold a bit more, with unique taillights and a different interior treatment, but …



… The Polestar 3 will be the first true Polestar model

Polestar's coming SUV, the Polestar 3, will be its first model that was destined for the Polestar brand from the get-go. The Polestar 3, we're told, will not look like the Polestar 1 or Polestar 2, so it will be a good sign of things to come from the brand. The Polestar 3 will effectively be the brand's Tesla Model X fighter. Built upon Volvo's modular SPA platform, the Polestar 3 SUV will share just its platform and its 117.5-inch wheelbase with the Volvo XC90. Inside, expect three rows and room for seven. Hembrough says the design for the 3 is already locked in and that we can expect to see its debut in about a year and a half. Deliveries through the brand's 60 worldwide Polestar Space "dealerships" (think Tesla store) will begin in about two years.

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Autos News: What’s in a Brand? A Look at Polestar’s Tesla-Fighting Future
What’s in a Brand? A Look at Polestar’s Tesla-Fighting Future
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