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Polestar to double its retail stores as it seeks to ramp up EV sales – TechCrunch

Polestar plans to launch in nine more markets this year, doubling its global presence as it seeks to sell more of its electric sedans.

The company, which is the electric performance vehicle brand under Volvo Car Group, said it is also planning to double the number of retail stores to 100 locations and add more service centers by the end of the year. Some of the retail locations will be temporary pop-up stores. The Swedish automaker has more than 650 so-called “service points” in Polestar markets and wants to exceed 780 by the end of 2021.

Polestar launched last year in the U.S., China, Canada, Belgium, Germany, UK, Sweden, Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland. By the end of the year, the company plans to be in Austria, Denmark, Finland, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore.

Specifically within the United States, Polestar has service centers and retail stores in Austin, Bellevue, Washington, Boston, Detroit, Denver, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Princeton, New Jersey, San Francisco, San Jose and Scottsdale, Arizona. Polestar plans to add locations in Orange County, California, central New Jersey, Charlotte, North Carolina and Grapevine, Texas.

This pace of expansion doesn’t appear to be waning. Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath said in a statement that the company aims to expand at a similar rate in terms of new markets in 2022. “This continued pace, combined with new retail concepts, will support our goal to exceed our owners’ expectations,” he added.

Today, Polestar has one primary product: the all-electric Polestar 2. But it has plans to add more to its portfolio in the coming years. The automaker announced in June that it would manufacture its first all-electric SUV in the United States. The SUV, which is called the Polestar 3, will be assembled at a plant shared with Volvo Cars at a factory in Ridgeville, South Carolina.

The Polestar 3 follows the all-electric Polestar 2 sedan and the hybrid grand tourer Polestar 1. Production of Polestar 3 is expected to begin globally in 2022.

As Polestar scales up, it’s keen to find new ways to reach customers. The main strategy is to add more retail stores and expand in existing markets or into new ones. The company said Monday it is also experimenting with a new concept called Polestar Destinations. These “destinations” act just likes its “Polestar Spaces” stores, but are larger and located outside of urban centers. These destination stores will also act as centers where customers can pick up their vehicles, which can be ordered and paid for online.

The company is also adding 60 more test drive locations by the end of 2021 to provide additional access to Polestar 2 vehicles.

All of this expansion is being supported by an influx of $550 million that Polestar raised in April in an external round led by Chongqing Chengxing Equity Investment Fund Partnership, Zibo Financial Holding and Zibo Hightech Industrial Investment. SK Inc., the South Korean global conglomerate, and a range of other investors also participated in that round.

While this was Polestar’s first external round, the company suggested at the time that it wouldn’t be the last.

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