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Polestar appoints Mike Whittington to head sales operations

Mike Whittington, Polestar's vice-president of global sales operations

Former Mercedes-Benz Retail Group managing director and Jaguar Land Rover director of global retail operations Mike Whittington will lead Polestar’s sales expansion across the globe.

Whittington has been appointed as vice-president of global sales operations at the electrified premium sports car brand, which is owned by Volvo’s Chinese parent company, Geely.

The announcement of his appointment follows the brand’s recent creation of a new retail lab which is developing concepts for the forthcoming Polestar Space retail environments, with 60 expected to have opened in markets around the world by 2020.

Thomas Ingenlath, chief executive of Polestar, said: “We are entering an important phase in the launch of the new Polestar brand. We defined our retail strategy and are now developing the global retail network we need.

“Polestar wants to interact with its customers online and face-to-face, and we have begun engaging with the dealer operators who will represent Polestar around the world. Mike’s experience and expertise will help us realise our objectives and keep us on the path to success.”

Whittington joins Polestar with 20 years of experience in automotive and has specialised in global infrastructure, e-commerce strategy and new electric vehicle introductions from a wealth of automotive brands, including Jaguar Land Rover, PSA, Mercedes-Benz and Toyota.

Commenting on his new role with Polestar, he said: “The motor industry is entering the most significant and challenging period of change in its history.

“The opportunity to join Polestar as a new electric performance brand is very exciting. Combining electrification with highly desirable performance cars, in a new company that has clear and ambitious goals, especially on the sales side, is the sort of challenge I welcome with open arms.”

Volvo franchisees are currently being offered the opportunity to operate a Polestar Space, store-like environments aligned with tech companies in the high street to offer potential customers an immersive insight into the Polestar brand.

A spokesman for the brand told AM. He said: "We are currently in dialogue with a number of existing Volvo dealer operators to gauge their interest to run a Polestar Space.

"This will be a standalone facility, independently located away from the Volvo retailer in an in-town location of 200 to 300 square-metres, with a complete Polestar brand experience."

Adding further detail about the business model set to be put in place by Polestar, the spokesman added: "All of the aftersales work for Polestar cars will be undertaken by the Volvo retailer and in the Volvo workshops. Because all Polestar cars will be offered with Collection and Delivery servicing as standard, the customer will never visit the Volvo retailer but they have the reassurance that the car is being maintained by fully trained and experienced technicians."

Set to arrive in the UK with the launch of the Polestar 1 hybrid coupe – a vehicle producing 592bhp from a two-litre turbo engine and electric motors on the rear axle – customers of the Polestar brand can already place a £1,900 deposit to secure the order of the £135,500 car.

Polestar said that over 6,000 potential customer had expressed an interest in the brand globally and it expects to produce 500 Polestar 1s each year once fully up to speed.

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