Swedish electric car brand Polestar is looking at offering subscription packages for UK customers.
Speaking to Car Dealer Live, UK CEO Jonathan Goodman said it’s an area the start-up firm is looking closely at and may offer in the near future, as it’s ‘part-and-parcel’ of how the brand ‘needs to move forwards’.
Car subscriptions allow customers to pay one monthly fee, and give the ability to opt in and opt out and change their subscription package as they please.
Sister-firm Volvo rolled out a subscription model last year and offers packages starting from £559 per month.
Jaguar Land Rover offers something similar with its Pivotal programme and guarantees customers will get a new vehicle every six months.
Drover, one of the UK’s largest car subscription providers, told Car Dealer in 2020 Q2 & Q3 were its best ever quarters as the UK went into lockdown, demonstrating the growing popularity of car subscriptions.
Should Polestar go down the subscription route, it’s likely it’ll follow Volvo’s lead and allow customers to order a car that’s in stock or spec their own online, choose their mileage allowance and wait for delivery to their home.
However, demand is currently outstripping supply for Polestar’s cars, preventing the brand from offering subscription services to customers now.
‘It’s one of the elements we are looking at introducing,’ Goodman told Car Dealer.
‘A lot of people haven’t experienced electric cars and they have lots of questions.
‘If we can offer them a subscription model that gives them total clarity – this is what you pay a month and the only additional cost is the cost of charging – they will be pleasantly surprised at home much they can save over an equivalent petrol car.
‘It’s part-and-parcel or what we have to do moving forwards, as it offers clarity and a rental solution thereby takes away concerns about residual values.’
Goodman added: ‘We need a blend of finance offers, leasing – personal, business and business contract hire, and subscription. Ultimately, the customer decides and we’ll see how that goes.
‘As a new start-up it’s something we’re not looking at right now as demand is outstripping supply which is where you’d always want to be.’
In a wide ranging video interview, Goodman explained the rationale behind its shopping centre-based ‘Polestar Spaces’, which see non-commissioned specialists helping customers rather than actively selling.
Goodman, who’s career in the car industry spans 34 years and includes time as Peugeot’s UK managing director, said the three years he’s spent so far with Polestar have been some of the most rewarding, simply because the brand ‘does things differently’.
‘I’ve been able to approach this new brand in a new way,’ he told Car Dealer.
‘A perfect example of how we do things differently is our retail investors don’t hold any stock – we don’t wholesale vehicles into our retailers.
‘I think the wholesaling process creates pressures on the dealer network, driven by the manufacturer, and I think that is wrong.
‘Dealers are hugely committed – you wouldn’t get many people around a manufacturer board room table who have put a million or two million pounds of their own money into a business. The retailers have, and you have to give them a level playing field to allow them to deliver what they want to deliver.
‘We’ve taken that part of the equation out and that allows the retailer to focus on the customer care. This is the excitement I have found being involved with Polestar.’