Polestar has opened its first UK customer experience space in the heart of London’s Westfield shopping complex, the biggest retail centre of its kind in Europe.
The new Westfield showroom, designed to display cars and explain the marque’s philosophy and model range to passing shoppers, is staffed by “specialists” who won’t earn commission but will direct customers towards online purchases so that new cars are delivered directly to their new owners’ homes.
Polestar will use Volvo facilities for aftersales functions such as servicing and warranty work. Orders are being taken now for Polestar’s first staple model, the Tesla Model 3-rivalling Polestar 2, but a new large SUV, the Polestar 3, is due for launch next year.
Opening Polestar’s first UK space, chief operating officer and head of Polestar UK Jonathan Goodman revealed that this was the 27th such facility to be opened globally, and the company expects to have nearly 50 by the end of this year across Europe, China and the US. The London space will soon be joined by another in Manchester, and four or five more will follow in the UK’s bigger cities as the company learns more about the shape of Polestar demand in Britain.
“This is our way of changing the face of automotive retail,” said Goodman. “There’s no hard sell, no requirement to shift stock and no discounting. Visitors decide how much they want to interact with us, and our specialists tailor the experience to their needs, not those of the brand.
“If they decide to buy, a specialist guides them to their ideal specification, then by seamless digital interactivity puts the vehicle in the customer’s app, ready to be ordered when it suits them. We believe we’re putting the fun back into buying a car.”
For now, Polestar’s staple product will be the 2, given that the limited-edition Polestar 1 range-extender coupé, the marque’s much-lauded launch model, has already sold out.
Following the 3 next year, the brand’s biggest focus is on productionising its Precept concept car, seen as a Porsche Taycan rival and revealed digitally in February. It will carry design cues and ground-breaking technology the company will use in the future, designed to “stress the differences” between future Polestar models and Volvos.
“We always intended that the designs would diverge,” said Goodman. “They will have a different ethos and a different starting point. A Polestar will always be primarily a driver’s car, whereas a Volvo majors much more on comfort and safety.”