Despite being somewhat underutilised at the moment, Volvo’s performance division, Polestar, is set to get a massive boost with news the automaker will use Polestar as its own electric performance brand.
Under the new plan Polestar will be run by its own management team, though the vehicles produced by the brand will still be supplied by Volvo in a manner similar to the relationship between Mercedes-AMG performance cars and mainstream Mercedes-Benz vehicles.
Polestar traces its origins back to its creation as a support program for Volvo’s racing programs before evolving into a tuning division tasked with creating performance upgrades for the S60, V60, XC60 and XC90. Volvo acquired the brand in 2015 and took production of the performance models in-house.
As part of its transformation process Volvo senior vice president of design and the man credited with the brand's current styling, Thomas Ingenlath, has been appointed chief executive officer of Polestar.
"Thomas heading up the Polestar organisation shows our commitment to establishing a truly differentiated stand-alone brand within the Volvo Car Group," said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo Cars.
Volvo has yet to disclose the full scope of the new Polestar’s potential to modify the existing Volvo range, but the brand’s creation as a specialist in electrification means that Polestar will initially concentrate its attention of performance hybrid systems with room to move into full performance EVs.
Ingenlath background in design also suggests that Polestar models will receive significant visual differences compared to the standard Volvo range.
"Polestar will be a credible competitor in the emerging global market for high performance electrified cars," Samuelsson said. "With Polestar, we are able to offer electrified cars to the world's most demanding, progressive drivers in all market segments."
Although the idea of an electric performance division is somewhat unique, the move aligns with Volvo's push into the electric vehicle market, with the company’s first full EV set to launch in 2019.
Polestar has also been working behind the scenes on Volvo’s existing plug-in hybrid T8 Twin Engine powertrain, but has yet to publicly show what changes it has made to the existing 235kW turbo and supercharged engine or its supporting 65kW electric motor.
The announcement also doesn’t mean an end to the brand’s existing optimisation packages for standard Volvo models, which will continue to be offered. Further details of Polestar’s future plans are expected to be revealed at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show in September.
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