Electric vehicle brand Polestar is not letting its reliance on an online sales model stop it from building out a Canadian dealer network.
The start-up has been operating out of three “spaces” in Canada, two of them temporary locations, as it finds its footing in the country’s three largest markets. But by the end of 2022, Polestar will have put down permanent roots in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, opening new showrooms in the latter two cities.
Designed as minimalistic, sales-free environments focused only on Polestar’s vehicles, the spaces, as the company calls them, serve an important purpose, according to Hugues Bissonnette, head of Polestar Canada.
“Our retail model is digital first. Customers go online, they order our cars directly, but obviously they can visit a space if they want to enhance the experience, test drive the cars, if they have any questions.”
Since late 2021, Polestar’s Montreal space has been a shipping container that features a single vehicle. Later this year, it will be replaced by a 12,000-square-foot (1,100 square-metre) dealership with on-site service and a five-car showroom. In West Vancouver, the company has had a store in Park Royal mall. That will change this year as well, as the company opens a boutique on Burrard Street in the city’s downtown.
The two relocated spaces will join the brand’s other permanent location, which opened in Toronto’s upscale Yorkville neighbourhood in late 2020.
“We, from the beginning, wanted to set our footprint where people entertain themselves, where they go eat, where they go shopping and not necessarily in a car mall environment,” Bissonnette said.