Polestar's U.S. dealers expected the Swedish electric vehicle maker's first crossover model to arrive in their hip, urban stores early next year. But now they find they will be without the high-volume Polestar 3 for the better part of a year.
U.S. deliveries of the midsize crossover will begin in the fourth quarter of 2023, several months later than some retailers had anticipated.
That could prove problematic for the young brand as it claws its way into the competitive U.S. auto market.
Polestar, which sells a sedan model, delivered an estimated 6,400 units of the Polestar 2 in the first nine months of 2022, according to Automotive News Research & Data Center.
"It's disappointing not to have your franchise car," Mathew Haiken, CEO of Polestar Short Hills in New Jersey, told Automotive News. "We hoped to go from a startup to an established competitive franchise next year with a volume SUV."
The U.S. is expected to be the largest single market for the Polestar 3, with North America accounting for about 30 percent of global sales.
The crossover will "significantly boost throughput for our retailers." the brand's U.S. CEO Gregor Hembrough told Automotive News before the model's global reveal earlier this month. "This is our most critical product launch yet."
One Polestar retailer said he had banked on having the crossover to sell early next year to fund his expansion plans. The delay "throws our business planning out the window," he said, requesting not to be identified.
"We relied on information that this car would be released early next year and that our volume would be significantly up, which would justify the rent expense involved in opening stores," the dealer said. "We're carrying a massive investment — if we have to carry it another year, that's not very helpful financially."