Volvo’s Polestar spun into standalone electrified sports car range

Published: 21 June 2017

► Polestar to become a brand in own right
► Specialising in electrified performance cars
► Global firm, run by design and spin doctors

Volvo has been gradually ramping up the focus on its Polestar sports division but today took that one step further – by spinning it off as a standalone performance arm specialising in electrified, go-faster cars.

In future Polestar cars will wear the badge pictured instead of the Volvo iron branding, as the company seeks to cash in on the global trend for cleaner performance.

Why is Volvo making Polestar a separate company?

The Swedish mothership has cleverly carved out a niche for itself as a purveyor of distinctively styled, Scando-cool crossovers, estates and family cars, but is hardly seen as a brand to chase after the more thrusting, go-getting German brands.

This despite the rare-groove appeal of the current Polestar models, such as the 367bhp Volvo S60 Polestar (below).

Volvo S60 Polestar

By spinning off Polestar as a ‘new separately-branded electrified global high performance car company’, Volvo is gambling on a short cut to launch an altogether more exciting, dynamic type of global car brand.

Crucially, it will have sustainability as its heart; Volvo has been developing electric, plug-in and hybrid vehicles for years and this technology will underpin Polestar’s product plans, giving it a point of differentiation from the likes of Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

Who runs Polestar?

The company started off as a race team which campaigned Volvos in touring cars and forged a strong relationship with Gothenburg. Racing on track led to roadgoing projects, with showroom cars emerging in 2010. Five years later, Volvo bought Polestar outright.

Now it is being set up as a standalone eco-sports car division, run by Volvo’s former design chief Thomas Ingenlath who has been promoted to CEO. He will be joined by Jonathan Goodman, Volvo’s former senior vice president of corporate communications.

Thomas Ingenlath, former Volvo design chief, now CEO of Polestar

Yes, you’d better believe it. Volvo’s new performance division is being run by designers and spin doctors. It says a lot about a brand’s chic that it’s being set up by executives with such backgrounds.

‘Polestar will be a credible competitor in the emerging global market for high performance electrified cars,’ said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo Cars. ‘With Polestar, we are able to offer electrified cars to the world’s most demanding, progressive drivers in all market segments.’

Further details of Polestar’s business plan will be revealed in autumn 2017.

Click here for our Volvo S60 Polestar review

By Tim Pollard

Group digital editorial director, motoring news magnet