TURIN – The market showing the greatest interest so far in Polestar, Volvo's recently launched stand-alone brand for high-performance electrified models, is North America, CEO Thomas Ingenlath said.
The majority of the more than 500 people who have made a deposit on the brand's debut model, the 600-hp Polestar 1 plug-in hybrid 2+2 coupe, are in that market, Ingenlath told the Automotive News Europe Congress here.
It's an odd twist because the car won't appear in the market until August when it will be at the annual Concourse d'Elegance in Pebble Beach, California.
The Polestar 1, which is expected to cost between 130,000 euros and 150,000 euros, was unveiled in China last autumn and made its European debut at the Geneva auto show in March.
The car, which is undergoing testing now ahead of its debut next year, will also appear at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the UK next month.
Since last October, more than 8,000 people have said they're interested in the chance to purchase the Polestar 1.
Currently, Volvo only plans to build 500 units of the Polestar 1 annually over three years for a total run of 1,500 units. Ingenlath expects the company to produce three Polestar 1s a day on one shift at its new production facility in Chengdu, China.
Ingenlath said that the next model in the brand's lineup, the Polestar 2 midsize sedan, which will be a rival to the Tesla Model 3, is set to debut ahead of the 2019 Geneva auto show.
When asked whether Tesla CEO Elon Musk needs to be worried about Polestar Ingenlath said: “I think his list of worries is long enough.”
Tesla shareholders on Tuesday voted against a proposal to split the chairman and CEO posts held by Musk, who is also the company's co-founder. The bid to separate the roles took place during Tesla's annual meeting. It was the strongest challenge yet to Musk's grip on the Silicon Valley electric vehicle maker, which also faces production setbacks and expectations by many analysts that it will need to raise new cash.
Ingenlath said that while Tesla and Polestar will be competitors both brands will benefit from each other “driving the electromobility market.” Ingenlath also credited Musk and Tesla for pioneering the sector and “showing how amazingly attractive electric cars can be.”