By on July 14, 2015


Volvo has purchased Swedish high-performance tuner Polestar, the automaker announced Tuesday. The company will own and operate Polestar as an in-house performance division much like Ford’s SVT division or Subaru’s STI group (anything other than another Mercedes-AMG or BMW M Division reference).

You could be forgiven for thinking Volvo owned Polestar already — the Swedish automaker already exclusively contracted with the Swedish tuner in 2013 to produce the V60 and S60 Polestar editions and the two have worked together since the 1990s.

Volvo said in the medium-term it would double output of Polestar branded cars — which could mean more than 80 sedans and 40 wagons a year coming to the United States.

Polestar’s racing team, which races in the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship, won’t be included in the deal. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Volvo Global Marketing Vice-President, Alain Visser, stated last year, “Motorsport does not conform with our brand, where we stand for smaller engines and safety. We are therefore pulling out of STCC, for example, as soon as the contracts permits.”

Christian Dahl, now former-CEO of Polestar, will remain as the team’s principal and the touring car team will be renamed.

“We are extremely satisfied with the way the performance business with Volvo has developed. But we are a racing team first and foremost. This is an opportunity to return our full attention to our core business – to develop and race Volvo cars,” Dahl said in a statement announcing the deal.

Volvo said Polestar would be involved with the automaker’s plug-in hybrid cars in the future.

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed by Volvo.

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17 Comments on “Volvo Buys Polestar, Maybe Won’t Be Unicorn After All...”

  • avatar

    Polestar?? That name conjures up performance in an entirely different realm.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I really wanted to love the C30 Polestar I test drove. But the shifting was too unforgiving – the clutch was like an on-off switch. It just didn’t feel or drive that much more special than a regular C30 that I had to pass, especially with the premium cost.

    I do like the idea of a high performance Volvo though that seems to go completely against what Visser said. Which leads me to wonder why they bought Polestar.

  • avatar

    I have to say I’m a bit confused by this move, considering recent comments from Volvo’s Marketing Chief, though his comments might be more about motorsports as a marketing exercise and not about performance cars.

    “Motorsport does not conform with our brand, where we stand for smaller engines and safety. We are therefore pulling out of STCC, for example, as soon as the contracts permits.”

    “I love motor sports, but I would never invest the company’s money in it. I would be pleased to see a business plan that shows this actually leads to profits. If you analyze 100 sponsorship deals you will learn that the son of one of the board members very often is participating in the sport. Therefore, this decision is not always based on rational reasons.”

    • 0 avatar

      “Motorsport does not conform with our brand, where we stand for smaller engines and safety.”

      Wow…that statement just sucks the fun out of everything.

      • 0 avatar

        He is right though. When everyone thinks of Volvo they think of wagons and safety. Nobody associates them with motorsports.

        Motorsports are difficult to break into and make a name for yourself amongst the general public, better to just focus on your strengths.

        • 0 avatar

          I associate Volvo with performance a *little* (even before I bought one), from knowing about the old 122 Rally cars, and having been in a V70R going rather too fast on suburban streets.

          But mass-market? Yeah, no.

          • 0 avatar

            I always loved the S60R and V70R…I came *this* close to picking up one of the last new S60Rs in our area but the dealer didn’t want to budge on price so I ended up with an Acura TL Type-S 6MT.
            That car sat on the dealer lot for the next 6 months and I heard that they sold it at a big loss to get rid of it in the Spring of 2008 as it was a 2007 model year.
            It’s a shame that Volvo didn’t continue with the R line instead of the “R_design” tape & trim versions they sell now.

      • 0 avatar

        When I think of Volvo and “safety,” I think of this!

        And when I think of them and “sports,” I think of this!


  • avatar
    John R

    So essentially Volvo bought Polestar so that they could have a trademarked trim level…?

    Wow, guys, at least string it along for a couple years so that you can push the motorsports angle in the initial marketing.

  • avatar

    So is this now China’s first performance tuner? What a world we live in!

  • avatar

    “Financial details of the deal were not disclosed by Volvo.”

    Must have been an expensive mistake, er move.

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