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22Jun/17

Volvo locks horns with Tesla at head of high-performance electric car race

Volvo plans to take on Tesla in the high-performance electric car race after splitting out its Polestar division into a separate brand.

The move signals a further expansion of the global ambitions of the Swedish -carmaker’s Chinese owner, Geely Automotive.

Polestar said it would use its close links with Volvo to “design, develop and build world-beating electrified high-performance cars”, although it will have its own management team.

The company promised a “portfolio” of vehicles, indicating that it will launch models into different segments of the market rather than focusing only on high-priced cars. At least some of the cars will be fully electric but the company declined to say more, adding that it would issue more details in the autumn.

The brand will also continue to create high-performance models for Volvo, in a manner similar to the relationship between the AMG sub-brand and -Mercedes-Benz.

The new business will be run by -Thomas Ingenlath, Volvo’s design chief, with Jonathan Goodman, Volvo’s head of communications, becoming chief operating officer.

Mr Ingenlath said: “I am really excited to take up the challenge of establishing this exciting brand, developing a fabulous portfolio of bespoke products and channelling the passion we have throughout the Polestar team.”

Hakan Samuelsson, Volvo’s chief executive, said: “Polestar will be a credible competitor in the emerging global market for high-performance electrified cars.

Tesla is the market leader in high-performance electric cars, with rivals such as Mercedes and Audi yet to produce fully electric premium models. But Polestar’s move into the field as a separate brand marks a different strategy, in pitching a new marque directly against the Californian carmaker.

The move also marks the latest expansion for Chinese carmaker Geely. It bought Volvo from Ford in 2010 and has overseen the revival of the brand.

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