Volvo Buys Polestar, Maybe Won't Be Unicorn After All

Aaron Cole
by Aaron Cole
volvo buys polestar maybe wont be unicorn after all

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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10 of 17 comments
  • Jimal Jimal on Jul 14, 2015

    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.”

    • See 4 previous
    • IHateCars IHateCars on Jul 15, 2015

      @Sigivald 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.

  • John R John R on Jul 14, 2015

    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.

  • Superdessucke Superdessucke on Jul 14, 2015

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

  • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Jul 14, 2015

    "Financial details of the deal were not disclosed by Volvo." Must have been an expensive mistake, er move.

    • Mark Stevenson Mark Stevenson on Jul 14, 2015

      They're still trying to convert between Swedish Krona and Chinese RMB with a U.S. stop in the middle.