Polestar's plan to go public this year via a merger with the special-purpose acquisition company Gores Guggenheim forced the Volvo Cars subsidiary to do something it had declined to do since it was born in 2017: provide detailed sales and financial targets.
Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath said that revealing the electric car maker's midterm plan — which includes boosting sales to 290,000 by 2025 from 29,000 last year and reaching breakeven in 2023 — was "absolutely terrifying." But making its targets public has been a great motivator, he added.
He also explained how Polestar was spared from the worst of the chip crisis and revealed a big change the company has made in the U.S. during an interview with Automotive News Europe Managing Editor Douglas A. Bolduc. Here are edited excerpts.
Q: Polestar has provided a detailed sales and financial outlook for 2021-25. Was that terrifying or liberating?
A: It's absolutely terrifying. But this is required if you want to go to the public markets. Making a public commitment helps you to strive toward a goal in a way that you would have never done if you had kept the target a secret.
Was the backlash against SPAC deals a concern?
When we started this process, there were already some questions about the big hype around SPACs. That is why Polestar decided to do this together with Gores Guggenheim, which is an experienced partner that has done a number of successful SPAC deals. I think Alec [Gores, chairman of Gores Guggenheim] and his team are very thoroughly working on what they have to achieve. Then we'll see how everything proceeds in the spring. We are confident there's nothing that will prevent this from coming to a successful finish.