Speaking to media in Sydney, Polestar’s global head of sales, Mike Whittington, said he thinks Polestar could ultimately overtake the EV juggernaut that is Tesla, it’s just a matter of time.
“Yes, we could more cars than Tesla, but it depends when. Once we expand our range there is a real opportunity there,” he said.
Mr Whittington explained while Polestar isn’t in a race with Tesla, the brand was experiencing a surge in demand globally, which had it well on track to achieve its goal of 290,000 vehicles sold by 2025.
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He also confirmed the Polestar 3 large SUV, Polestar 4 small SUV, and Polestar 5 GT car would all make their way to Australia in the coming years, with the Polestar 3 to be revealed later this year for a 2023 arrival Down Under.
While the Polestar 2 was the more volume-focused entry-point to its range, many potential customers with a family focus were waiting for the Polestar 3, which Polestar expects will come with a corresponding boost in sales.
Mr Whittington relayed Polestar’s network of factories in China and its ability to use the resources of its partners Geely and Volvo, as well as the upcoming initial public offering (IPO), all helped to secure the brand’s long-term future and ability to scale its production.
In comparison, Tesla fields its popular Model 3 sedan and soon-to-launch Model Y SUV, with the updated Model S sedan and Model X SUV also set to arrive in Australia (albeit with much more limited demand than the 3 and Y).
It is likely the Polestar 3 will be a much higher-end offering than the 2, with the brand specifically targeting a similar market segment to the Porsche Cayenne.
Polestar recently sold out of the Polestar 2 for the previous model year, with new customers needing to wait until November for delivery of the updated 2023 model, which has also taken a hike in price due to strains in the supply network, and from raw materials to factory lockdowns, which the brand said “were affecting the whole industry”.
Surprisingly, unlike its Tesla rival, Polestar confirmed much of the demand for the 2 crossover was at the top end – the Long Range Dual Motor priced from $73,400 before on-road costs, but that there was also a relatively healthy spread across other variants. In comparison, Tesla has made strong ground with its entry-level Model 3 (now priced from $63,900).
The brand’s local managing director, Samantha Johnson, explained the brands customers were seeking the longer range available on the top two variants, but expressed that the brand was focusing on explaining the benefits of the top-spec car’s all-wheel drive performance and the enhancements its optional packages can bring.
Despite hikes in price and long waiting times, Polestar said demand in Australia was well above what it had expected so far.
“Sales are definitely where we want them to be. Demand has been a lot higher than anticipated. We’re seeing a real shift in mentality, a boost in EV demand. Those waitlists are starting to grow,” said Ms Johnson.
Explaining consumers were not just okay with the hike in prices, but also the long wait times, Mr Whittington also said the brand’s position as a sustainability leader was resonating with customers.
“It’s funny, we’re seeing demand driven by many buyer’s kids and their aspirations to have a more sustainable product,” he said.
“This mindset is growing all the time,” Ms Johnson added. “Our buyers want to be environmental – this idea of ‘If I’m buying something now which is going to be out there for years, I want it to be the future, I want it to be sustainable.”
While interest is apparently high, Polestar has a long way to go to topple Tesla locally, with the Model 3 moving some 4469 units so far in 2022, according to VFACTS data. Over the same period of time, Polestar has registered just 208 new Polestar 2 models.
The updated Polestar 2 arrives in November this year, while the Polestar 3 SUV is expected to be revealed before year’s end.