Jonathan Goodman is the UK CEO of Polestar and its head of global communications, having played an integral role alongside global CEO Thomas Ingenlath in launching the brand from scratch over the past five years. He has previously held senior roles with a multitude of responsibilities at car companies including the PSA Group and Volvo.
Here, Goodman discusses Polestar’s success to date, why Tesla is its biggest rival and what his expectations are for the future.
Setting up a new car company is famously difficult. Did you have any qualms when you were asked to be Polestar chief operating officer alongside Ingenlath back in 2017?
“In truth, it took me about five seconds to decide. After 28 years in the industry, it was a golden opportunity – not just exciting for all the obvious and positive reasons but also a chance to work through all the things that had frustrated me in my career in established organisations, trying to find new ways of working to avoid them.
“It wasn’t an opportunity that I could ever have turned down. The mandate was that we knew the world didn’t need yet another car company doing the same thing, so go out and create one that’s doing it differently. We set out to offer something different, and I think few would argue that we aren’t already achieving that.”
How is Polestar going in the UK so far?
“The short answer is that we’re going really well. For Polestar, this is one of the best-performing countries in the world. There’s a real appetite for EVs in the UK, which has been helped enormously by the [1%] benefit-in-kind taxation, which pushes a lot of business car users to choosing an EV.
“But it’s clear that Polestar’s positioning is working, too. The avant-garde premium design and drivability of our cars has resulted in some incredible press coverage across the board.
“The public’s reaction has also been incredibly strong, as there are around 3000 Polestar 2s on the road today. We’re on track for 4000 deliveries this year and our biggest concern is supply, not demand. That’s a very happy place to be – and ahead of where we wanted to be in terms ofour initial projections.”
Were you always confident of success?
“Well, it would have been lovely if someone had handed us a book called ‘How to Launch a New Car Brand’ four years ago, that’s for sure! Sadly, nobody did.