Pole Vault: Volvo’s Polestar to Become Dedicated Electrified Performance Brand ""
Posted on: June 22, 2017

 

Polestar announces new management team to develop electrified performance brand for Volvo Cars

The days of Rebel Blue Volvo wagons swilling gasoline and squirting oil into spinning turbos may be about to end. Volvo’s performance arm, Polestar, will now engineer an entirely new lineup of electrified vehicles that won’t wear the Volvo name.

Without revealing what its mysterious double-arrow logo represents, Volvo assures speed freaks that the new Polestar will be a “high performance car company” and continue to modify gas-powered models under the Polestar Engineered label. In a press release, Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson says that Polestar “will be a credible competitor in the emerging global market for high performance electrified cars.” Take that to mean Volvo is shooting for Tesla and other electric upstarts that favor supercar-punching acceleration.

Volvo’s press release uses corporate buzzwords like “synergies” and “bespoke” to describe the future relationship between Polestar and its parent. Like Genesis and Hyundai, the two will share chassis, electronics, and various bits with one another, although how far Polestar distances itself from Volvo’s stellar exterior and interior designs is up for discussion. But they should be just as beautiful, as design chief Thomas Ingenlath will lead the new company as CEO. Volvo did not say if Ingenlath would stay in his current role or if it would continue to build EVs under its own name. Possibly, every plug-in model could be transferred to Polestar’s domain. Without speculating further, we’ll have to wait until the fall, when Volvo promises to provide more details.

2016 Volvo S60 Polestar and V60 Polestar

This is not quite the shock it would be if Mercedes-AMG or BMW M ditched internal combustion, but the Polestar brand has made Volvo resonate among the small crowds who like 362-hp Swedish wagons on summer tires. With origins in Volvo’s motorsports team since 1996, Polestar developed championship-winning versions of the 850, S40, S60, and C30 for various European touring car series. Volvo purchased Polestar outright in 2015, and aside from low-volume, hot-rod specials like the S60 and V60 Polestar, the division has done a brisk business reflashing ECUs and affixing its bright blue badge on otherwise stock Volvos.

The company’s news release about Polestar’s future does not speak to the role of the racing team, which was recently renamed Cyan Racing and has remained under the direction of Christian Dahl, who had owned Polestar from 2004 until Volvo acquired it.


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