Polestar eyes doubling retail locations in ’21 and ’22

Polestar says it’s on track to double its global retail locations to 100 this year and the Volvo Cars subsidiary believes having 200 locations in 2022 is within reach.

“It’s highly possible with the market expansion we are looking at,” Polestar global sales boss Mike Whittington told Automotive News Europe.

The Tesla challenger, which has positioned the Polestar 2 as a direct rival to the Model 3, has a flexible definition of a location.

It includes Polestar Spaces, which are the brand’s flagship stores typically located in city centers such as downtown Munich. It also has a temporary version of this model that can be setup prior to a fixed location’s opening or erected at a major event.

A new edition to the retail mix are so-called Polestar Destinations, which will be located at large, easy-to-access out-of-town sites, where the brand will also perform vehicle handovers to customers.

“It enables us to widen our footprint” and give customers a choice of formats, Whittington said. “So, you may have a central city, high foot-fall space, but then you may have a more kind of traditional location out of town, perhaps with a bigger display of cars and ability to handover and test drive while you’re there,” he said.

What all the locations have in common is they are all places where customers can learn about the brand, experience the product and even order the car online with assistance from a Polestar Specialist.

Polestar views its digital-first sales model as a differentiator as the broader auto industry turns its focus to selling electric vehicles.

“A number of the traditional brands have been working for a while on that kind of [EV] evolution strategy. But the core elements that go alongside that — the sales model, the non-pressured retail environment, the online sales piece — many of our competition haven’t got that right,” Whittington said.

“I think we have got more in our armory than some of the traditional competition who have a big ICE (internal combustion engine) challenge to deal with as well,” he added.

Polestar UK CEO Jonathan Goodman also revealed that while automakers are typically happy if they can convert between 8 and 9 percent of test drives into sales, the company’s success rate is “considerable above that.” He declined to provide the exact number.

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