STOCKHOLM -- Polestar, which is jointly owned by Volvo Cars and its Chinese parent Geely, is setting up an r&d center in Britain to develop passenger cars, the automaker said on Wednesday.
The move comes as Britain's impending exit from the European Union has dented UK car manufacturing, prompting several automakers to cut local production and warn that Brexit was deterring suppliers and EU workers.
Polestar said there were no special considerations about Brexit in making its decision as the move was more about tapping engineering expertise in the UK.
Polestar intends to initially employ 60 engineers at the center in Coventry, central England, and expand its team over the rest of the year.
"Polestar's role as a technology spearhead requires new and developing skills in low-volume, light-weight, multi-material performance car engineering. The UK operation will allow us to take the next steps towards our future cars," r&d head Hans Pehrson said.
A spokesman for the company, which hopes to offer its cars largely via a monthly subscription model that covers insurance and maintenance cost, declined to say what segments or models they were exploring.
The company is currently manufacturing its Polestar 1 plug-in hybrid in China, and will also produce it first mass-market sedan, the Polestar 2, which is a competitor to Tesla's Model 3, in the country.
It has also promised the market an electric coupe-styled SUV, the Polestar 3, in 2021, just after the expected launch of Tesla's Model Y SUV, with both automakers betting that mass market customers are on the verge of adopting battery technology.
The UK site, whose cost will be borne by Polestar, will be the brand's first independent facility, with the company having so far relied on Volvo for its r&d capacity.
The move comes as Volvo courts Chinese and U.S. tech investors to buy a stake in Polestar.
Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson hopes it will be valued at a tech multiple like Tesla and startup electric automaker Nio rather than auto incumbents.