Volvo’s US Polestar electric-car plans are in flux over China tariffs

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Higher tariffs placed on cars made in China won't impact Polestar's future plans for the U.S. but could affect the future price of its cars, the brand said Wednesday.

Responding to reports that its CEO suggested that the nascent electric carmaker, which is owned by Volvo, might pull the plug on cars in the U.S., a Polestar spokesman confirmed that their cars would be sold in the States.

“We are 100 (percent) coming to the U.S. market, and bringing the Polestar 2,” Polestar spokesman JP Canton told Green Car Reports.

The tariffs could impact the cost on those cars, including the recently announced Polestar 2, which can be compared to the Tesla Model 3 and is due for deliveries next year. And that would likely affect the number of vehicles we ultimately see from the brand. 

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The confusion started with comments made by Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath to the Financial Times.

“The business case for bringing the car to the U.S. is highly dependent on the type of tariffs we have,” Ingenlath said.

Polestar insists that while the quote from its CEO is correct, the assumption that Polestar won’t sell its vehicles in the U.S. is not.

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The pricing that Polestar announced February 27 for the Polestar 2—$63,000 for the first year’s Launch Edition—already assumes that (higher) tariff rate, according to the automaker.

Polestar 2

Polestar 2

The U.S. was only allocated 200 of the brand’s Polestar 1 plug-in hybrid luxury coupes. Canton confirmed that those will arrive as planned this year at their pre-order price of $155,000.

READ MORE: Tesla Model 3 Standard Range arrives soon at $35,000 and 220 miles

Polestar says that there is still a business case with the current tariffs in place, but where the business case varies is in the number of cars delivered in the U.S. (and the pricing and profitability).

Volvo has said that it will offer a hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or all-electric version of every new (or redesigned) model it releases beginning in 2019. The first all-electric model, an electric version of the XC40, is due late next year. That vehicle is built in Ghent, Belgium, and might possibly have a different set of tariffs to face by then as well.

 
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