Polestar will operate stores — referred to as "spaces" — ranging from 2,000 to 2,500 square feet in high-traffic urban locations, such as downtown districts, mixed-use developments and shopping centers. The spaces will be no-commission shops where buyers can evaluate a vehicle without pressure to buy it.
But Polestar's spaces will be run by franchised dealers selected from Volvo's retail network.
So far, about 35 North American Volvo dealers have expressed interest in a Polestar franchise. The company said it is in discussions with eight dealers — five on the West Coast and three in Canada.
Dealers won't stock traditional inventory but will have display and test-drive vehicles. Vehicles will be ordered online and delivered to customers through the retail network. The first anticipated volume model, the Polestar 2, which is scheduled to appear in the U.S. in about a year, will be offered through retail financing, leasing and subscription models, with leasing expected to be the most popular option.
U.S. retail network expansion will be based on where there is demand and charging infrastructure — and also where dealers can be profitable.
"We have to ensure that the demand is profitable for our retail partners," said Hembrough. "It's about a balanced equation of making sure that wherever a space is put, that the throughput is great enough to actually have a good return on sales for the retail partners."