When Volvo bought the racing-focused Polestar brand in 2015, it appeared to be readying itself to challenge BMW M and Mercedes-AMG in the lucrative niche for fine-tuned models with plenty of horsepower. It turns out Volvo had always envisioned Polestar as its challenger to Tesla and BMW's i subbrand instead — as was announced this summer. Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson spoke with Automotive News Europe about making Polestar a stand-alone brand for top-performing electrified models.
Q: When did you decide that Polestar would become your high-performance electric brand?
A: Before we acquired it. We bought it with this in mind. We have been working in secret preparing for this. That's why we can already show the first cars [this autumn]. We will redefine the brand to move it from making gasoline cars for racing into a high-performance electric brand focused on progressive performance rather than just horsepower.
Would you consider Polestar for your first fully autonomous car?
Autonomous drive is all about safety, so I would say Volvo is the brand that will carry the safety niche. Autonomous drive is very clearly connected to Volvo. It could also be used in Polestar. We have to look into that, but Volvo definitely. If you think about electrification and performance, this will be more related to Polestar.