The Polestar 3 takes the Swedish brand into a higher-volume segment in the U.S. Crossovers are the largest vehicle segment in America, with a market share increase of 1.9 percentage points from 2019, according to the Automotive News Research & Data Center.
The Polestar 3 — pitted in size against the Porsche Cayenne — will be built at Volvo's 2.3-million-square-foot South Carolina factory late next year.
The vehicle's arrival is timed with a hefty expansion of the brand's retail network. Polestar intends to establish 35 U.S. stores in 17 states by the end of next year. When the Polestar 3 arrives, the brand will be in a more mature position in network representation and infrastructure, Whittington said.
Polestar also is bulking up globally. The automaker says it will double its global retail locations to 100 this year and believes it can have 200 locations in 2022.
"Growth is the story," Polestar U.K. CEO Jonathan Goodman said. "We are not arrogant but very confident about the prospects in the U.S. and Europe."
When it comes to retailing, the Tesla challenger — which has positioned the Polestar 2 as a direct rival to the Model 3 — has a flexible definition of a location. It includes Polestar Spaces, which are the brand's flagship stores, typically located in city centers such as downtown Munich. Polestar also has a temporary version of that model that can be set up prior to a fixed location's opening, or erected to participate in a major event.
A new derivative of its Spaces approach is the brand's so-called Polestar Destinations, which will be larger satellite locations where the brand can make customer deliveries.
"It enables us to widen our footprint," Whittington said. "So you may have a central city, high foot-traffic space, but then you may have a more traditional location out of town, perhaps with a bigger display of cars and ability to hand over and test drive while you're there," he said.
All of the locations will allow customers to learn about the brand, experience the product and order the car online. Polestar views its digital-first sales model as a differentiator as the broader auto industry turns its focus to selling EVs.
"A number of the traditional brands have been working for a while on their EV evolution strategy," Whittington said. But the other core elements that go alongside that, he added — such as a no-pressure retail environment and online sales — many competitors "haven't got that right."