Volvo buys Polestar tuning division

Published: 14 July 2015

Volvo takes full ownership of Polestar brand
More Volvo performance models to come
Will feature ‘twin engine’ hybrid technology

Volvo Cars has announced that it has acquired 100% of Polestar, the closely linked but previously independent performance car tuning and development specialists.

Remind me what Polestar is and what it does?

First and foremost, it’s a motorsport outfit, with a history of developing and racing Volvos in particular since 1996. In recent years it’s expanded into performance road car development and aftermarket tuning, while simultaneously becoming Volvo’s performance arm in essence. Think of it as Volvo’s equivalent of BMW’s M Division.

Apart from various racing programmes, fruits of the two companies’ road car development partnership have included the muscular S60 and V60 Polestar models with 350bhp and bespoke chassis upgrades.

Click here to read CAR’s Volvo V60 Polestar review.

What exactly has Volvo bought?

Volvo has acquired Polestar Performance AB, which concerns itself with road car performance software and aftermarket tuning components, and Polestar Holding AB, owner of the Polestar trademarks.

So in a nutshell, Volvo now owns both the company and the Polestar brand. It hasn’t acquired Polestar’s racing division – that stays separate, and will be renamed and run by former owner Christian Dahl. He’ll continue to be involved with the Polestar brand as a whole, and the racing arm will still develop Volvos for motorsport.

What’s next for Volvo and Polsetar? 

Polestar will be used as a model name for high-performance Volvo models. Some will feature Volvo’s ‘twin engine’ hybrid powertrain, as fitted to the new XC90 with as much as 407bhp in total on tap, and as little as 49g/km CO2.

There will still be aftermarket Polestar ‘optimisation’ kits to be made available for existing Volvos as well.

For 2015, Volvo expects global sales of 750 Polestar versions of the V60 and S60 but in the wake of the takeover expects medium-term Polestar model sales to increase to between 1,000 and 1,500 cars a year.

Some of those could be accounted for by an upcoming mid-sized hot hatch. Earlier this year, CAR learned that Volvo is working on a V40 Polestar hot hatch to rival the likes of the Mercedes A45 AMG, with 4wd and upwards of 300bhp on tap. Click here to read more.

By James Taylor

CAR's deputy features editor, occasional racer