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[Herald Interview] Polestar to add SUV to Korea lineup
Head of Polestar Korea voices confidence in Swedish EV SUV’s design and performance in heightened competitionBy Kan Hyeong-woo
Published : Feb. 13, 2023 - 14:29
Polestar Korea is looking to introduce the Swedish all-electric automaker’s latest product, the Polestar 3 -- an EV sport utility vehicle -- to the South Korean market as early as possible this year.
“If last year was the year of electric sedans, we expect this year to be the year of large electric SUVs,” said Ham Jong-sung, managing director of Polestar Korea, in an interview with The Korea Herald in Seoul on Thursday.
Referring to other automakers’ series of new EV SUV launches slated for this year, Ham said the issue at hand is the timing of Polestar 3’s release in the country.
“We are confident in (Polestar 3). As Polestar’s flagship vehicle, Polestar 3 redefines SUVs in the era of EVs. It differentiates itself from other large EV SUVs in terms of design and performance,” he said.
“We think we should present the vehicle here as soon as possible in order to get on the wish list of local customers planning to buy a large EV SUV. To that end, we will do our best to show (Polestar 3) to Korean customers in the third quarter, or maybe even earlier than that by actively consulting with the global headquarters,” he added.
Although the EV market’s growth rate is likely to slow down due to a looming economic downturn, Ham noted that the EV market will continue to get bigger. He said the automaker expects to see an increase of 11 to 13 percent on-year in EV sales in Korea.
“The Polestar global headquarters have big interests in the Korean market with regard to the growth potential and speed of automation. Last year, Polestar Korea ranked first in the Asia-Pacific region in terms of the number of units sold,” said Ham.
"Compared to other markets where we had established the image of a premium brand with the Polestar 1, the first year (in Korea) was an amazing achievement."
Polestar, which first began as a sub-brand under Volvo that specialized in making high-performance vehicles and later became an independent brand as an EV maker in 2017, saw unprecedented success when it debuted the Polestar 2 in Korea in January 2022.
Polestar Korea sold 2,794 Polestar 2s last year, according to the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association. The Swedish automaker became the only foreign automotive brand to have sold over 2,000 units in the first year of launch.
Ham pointed to design, safety and convenience as the three main factors behind the EV maker’s remarkable debut in Korea. According to the Swedish automaker, the Polestar 2, which has sold over 100,000 units worldwide, has reported no fire accidents yet.
Regarding Polestar 2’s relatively shorter driving distance on a full charge, Ham said a revamped version of the EV will be released in the second half of this year. According to the head of Polestar Korea, the upgraded model will have a longer driving distance as it will be equipped with a new motor while maximizing the efficiency of the inverter.
Noting that the goal for this year is to record a double-digit growth, the head of Polestar Korea said the automaker hopes to sell at least 3,000 vehicles.
As Polestar has set out the goal of creating a completely climate-neutral vehicle that creates zero carbon emissions throughout the entire manufacturing process by 2030, Ham said the Korean branch is carrying out various sustainability efforts such as not using any plastic and paper at its events.
“We have not come up with concrete plans for cooperating with environmental organizations here, but we are thoroughly reviewing our options,” he said.
Polestar Korea plans to release at least one new EV in the Korean market every year through 2026.
“In the mid- to long-term, we want to become a brand that customers trust. As for the brand’s image, we want to position ourselves as a luxury EV brand. By luxury, we do not mean high prices but intend to be a brand that offers luxurious experiences,” said Ham.
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