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October 19, 2017

Volvo plans digital subscription service for Polestar launch

Volvo’s performance brand Polestar will launch online as its primary route to market it launches in the UK in 2019.

By Jonathan Minter

Volvo’s performance brand Polestar will launch online as its primary route to market rather than use its existing retailer showrooms when it launches in the UK in 2019.

The first Polestar model, the Polestar 1, is set to roll off the production line in mid-2019, based on Volvo’s Scalable Platform Architecture (SPA).

When it is released in the UK, cars will be ordered 100% online and offered on a two or three-year subscription basis.

The zero-deposit, all-inclusive subscription services the company plans sound very similar to the ‘Care by Volvo’ scheme which Volvo plans to launch alongside the XC40 next year.

Like Care by Volvo, the Polestar subscription service will use a flat rate and include features such as pick-up and delivery servicing and the ability to rent alternative vehicles within the Volvo and Polestar range at no extra cost.

According to Polestar, these features are enabled by Phone-As-Key technology which allows the owner to share a virtual key with a third party, and also enables access to a host of other on-demand features.

The ordering and configuration of Polestar cars will be conducted online via a Polestar app or online portal.

For those that want a more physical approach, Polestar said it was launching a network of ‘Polestar Spaces,’ which will be stand alone, as opposed to using existing Volvo retailer showrooms.

Competing with Tesla?

Although the first model, the Polestar 1, will be an electric hybrid, the company said all models after this will be fully electric.

This will include the Polestar 2, due to start production in 2019, which will be the first battery-electric vehicle (BEV) from the Volvo Car Group.

In announcing this model, Volvo went so far as to describe it as “a mid-sized BEV, joining the competition around the Tesla Model 3.”

It is clear that Volvo and its parent company, Geely, is taking this venture seriously. The company is investing RMB5bn (£570bn) to support the initial phase of Polestar’s product, brand and industrial development.

Part of this investment will be used to build a new Polestar factory in Chengdu, China – Geelys home country.

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