One thing Polestar doesn't have is a solution to global trade tensions. Those could confound the upstart's global ambitions — especially its U.S. rollout. The company plans to build its vehicles in China, which is in a tit-for-tat tariff war with the U.S. The Trump administration has threatened to levy tariffs of up to 25 percent on an additional $300 billion worth of goods imported from China.
Company executives said they've priced their vehicles to factor in current U.S. tariffs on China-made vehicles.
But if tariffs change, "We'll have to reevaluate everything," Polestar USA chief Gregor Hembrough told Automotive News.
Geographically diversifying production would offer some insulation from a U.S.-China trade war, but Goodman waved away that prospect. "As soon as you start doing that, you're into double tooling, and the costs are very high," he said.
There have been about 2,000 preorders for the Polestar 2 globally since reservations opened in late February. The company declined to say how many of those reservations are from the U.S. but noted early interest is coming from EV-friendly California and the Northeast.
The U.S. marketing offensive, which begins next month, will be more sniper-shot than spray-and-pray.
Don't expect a Polestar commercial during the Super Bowl, Hembrough said. "This is not going to be a brand for the masses," he said.
Starting in July, Polestar will launch "highly experiential type of activities," such as a roadshow where the public will have an opportunity to interact with the vehicle. Test drives will not be offered initially.
The Polestar 2 is benchmarked against the Tesla Model 3, but Hembrough doesn't expect to lure Tesla customers in the near term. "Model 3 owners are only 12 to 14 months into their ownership," he said. "I don't think they are going to be defecting at this early stage."
More likely poaches, Hembrough said, will be owners of the BMW 3 series, Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C class who are curious about an electric powertrain.