The Polestar 2 has arrived in the U.S., where it has two strikes against it.
First of all, it's an electric car — a sharp-looking fastback, but undeniably a sedan in a market that shows ever-declining interest in such vehicles.
In addition, it's made in China, so it faces a 27.5 percent tariff — a five-digit penalty that more than offsets the federal $7,500 tax credit for EVs.
So maybe this car in 2020 America is not the perfect test of Polestar as a challenger to Tesla. Fair enough: The plan is to sell only 1,000 to 10,000 in the U.S.
Polestar, as you may recall, is the joint venture between Sweden's Volvo and China's Geely, which are both owned by Li Shufu, the Chinese billionaire who started with a refrigerator parts company and parlayed it into a sprawling empire that now includes Volvo trucks, flying-car company Terrafugia and a large stake in Daimler.
Li has just about ended the illusion that Volvo and Geely are separate, having planned (then postponed during the pandemic) an outright merger of the two, which already share platforms, powertrains and sometimes executives.
The Polestar name itself uses a little sleight of hand. It comes from Volvo's performance subbrand, but it presents itself as a new brand — a new type of brand, if you will, like Tesla, that prefers high-end mall space to a showroom floor and that takes orders online, with options selected as easily as toppings on a pizza.