LOS ANGELES — Electric vehicle brand Polestar has unveiled a certified pre-owned program to help drive business to its product-starved retailers. The program launches as the first Polestar 2 electric sedans are coming off their 36-month leases.
Polestar North America CEO Gregor Hembrough called the CPO program a "coming of age" moment for the Swedish brand, which launched its first and only mass-market model nearly three years ago.
"We've been in the marketplace long enough that we have lease returns; we have used cars that are coming back," Hembrough told Automotive News on the sidelines of an event here last week.
The remarketing program addresses a significant pain point for Polestar's fledgling retail network. With a new crossover product delayed by nearly a year and just one model — a sedan — to sell, some dealers say they lack enough throughput to justify their high-rent shopping center-based stores.
"Dealers are struggling to cover their expenses," a Polestar retailer, who asked that he not be identified, told Automotive News last month. "If you're looking at the cost of being in a shopping mall, it can be more expensive long-term than owning your building."
Matthew Haiken, CEO of Polestar Short Hills in New Jersey, said the CPO program will help sustain dealers through the lean times until the higher-volume Polestar 3 crossover arrives in stores later this year.
"It provides us a second car," Haiken said. "A real entry-level Polestar 2. We need it."
Remarketing also helps dealers defend their profit engine — the service department. Including scheduled maintenance ensures CPO customers get their vehicle serviced at a brand store rather than at an independent shop.
According to J.D. Power, franchised dealers sold about 2.48 million CPO vehicles last year, down 9.8 percent from 2021.