BEIJING -- Premium electric vehicle brand Polestar has hired a former Volkswagen Group senior sales executive as its China president, as the Gothenburg-based automaker accelerates a sales push in the world's biggest auto market.
The move comes as the brand ramps up production ahead of the start of deliveries of its Polestar 2 full-electric car later this year in China, where its main rivals include Tesla, Nio and BMW.
Polestar became an independent electric car brand in 2017 with capital investment from Geely Auto Group and Swedish automaker Volvo Cars, both controlled by Zhejiang Geely Holding Group.
Polestar China's new president is Gao Hong, who at Volkswagen -- the biggest foreign automaker in China with annual deliveries of around 4 million vehicles -- oversaw sales of Volkswagen Group brands including VW, Audi, Skoda and Bentley.
Polestar aims to expand sales channels in China, where it currently has just two showrooms, dubbed Polestar Spaces. The brand, which is adopting a direct-sales model, will build showrooms with new and existing Volvo sales partners, a person with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
The automaker builds cars at a factory in Chengdu and plans to share a production line with Volvo and Geely in Taizhou.
Polestar started delivering a hybrid sports car Polestar 1 last year and will begin deliveries of the mass-market Polestar 2 later this year. The starting price for Polestar 2 will be 298,000 yuan ($42,763) before subsidies. By comparison, the starting price of Tesla's China-made Model 3 is now at 299,050 yuan after subsidies.
Polestar is also introducing a new concept, the Precept, that signals future styling, autonomous technology, sustainable materials and connectivity.
In February, Geely's listed unit, Geely Automobile Holdings, said it and Volvo Cars planned to merge and list in Hong Kong and possibly Stockholm. The new entity would include Polestar, Geely's Lynk & Co. and new energy brand Geometry.