Even for a digital-focused brand such as Polestar, having brick-and-mortar retail locations will be key to driving volume in Tier 2 EV markets.
“We’re gaining a lot of interest in these markets,” Hembrough said. “However, by not having a physical location in that market, we’re still seeing consumers that are somewhat hesitant.”
The stores located in high-traffic locations serve as a marketing tool, creating awareness for the brand.
They allow Polestar to “engage consumers who don’t know about the brand yet but will stop in and learn more about this new electric vehicle,” Hembrough said.
Polestar also is bulking up its U.S work force.
The past year showed “we were understaffed in field representation roles,” Hembrough said. “We need to have more boots on the ground to help our Polestar Spaces get up and get running.”
Polestar also is working to source U.S.-based suppliers of dealership materials to help get retail stores open faster. The automaker’s main supplier is in Germany.
“You place an order and it could take anywhere from eight to 12 weeks before those supplies find their way to U.S. shores,” he said. “By working with U.S. suppliers for things like the showroom elements, we’re going to enable a faster turnaround” in store openings.
As Polestar expands its network, the focus will be on profitability over volume.
“One of the components of profitability is to continue to have good throughput. So we will not be putting Spaces on top of Spaces,” he said. “We want to make sure that we grow where the demand is going to be.”