Polestar plots its electric journey after Volvo spin-off

Ads have returned to performance, especially in the “Naughty Volvo” TV commercials from 2010, which featured Volvos in high-speed maneuv...


Ads have returned to performance, especially in the “Naughty Volvo” TV commercials from 2010, which featured Volvos in high-speed maneuvers with a driving guitar soundtrack.

That same year, Volvo wowed car enthusiasts with a C30 concept car developed in partnership with Polestar Racing, a brutal 405-hp all-wheel-drive shooting brake in a bright blue color called Rebel Blue, Cyan or “Swedish Racing Green “. When Volvo announced it would be bringing 250 limited-edition Polestar C30s to the United States, it seemed Polestar’s AMG moment had arrived.

Automakers have sub-brands like AMG, STI, and Abarth for good reason. High-performance cars can be tricky and expensive to buy and maintain. The sub-brand prevents those annoying traits from tarnishing the image of everyday vehicles. And it impresses automotive opinion makers with what a company can produce when left unchecked.

But in 2010, at the height of the performance boost, Ford, which had bought Volvo in 1999, sold it to China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group. It was the end of Polestar’s apparent AMG ambitions. When the Polestar C30 arrived in US dealerships in 2013, it had a modest 10% more power than the production model.

And therein lay a lesson in image management. Implemented plans typically take five years to materialize, both for manufacturing and marketing. Volvo’s shift from messaging to performance has left its safety monopoly vulnerable. The less expensive Subaru mounted a challenge. A 2006 print ad for its Tribeca SUV was titled “Airbags Save Lives. All-wheel drive saves airbags. Safety-focused announcements continue today. Richard Muir, account manager at Volvo’s advertising agency from 2014 to 2016, recalled that “Subaru stole safety while Volvo slept at the wheel.”

Between Volvo’s change in ownership and marketing changes, the Polestar brand has become more blurred.

When Geely bought the Polestar name from its racing partner (now Cyan Racing) in 2015, it transformed Polestar into a new brand of electric cars and an innovation lab for Volvo.

To add to the clutter, Polestar today presents itself as an independent brand, although Volvo still offers a Polestar Engineered V60 T8 Wagonan electric hybrid.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Polestar plots its electric journey after Volvo spin-off
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