Polestar Launches Flexible Lease Program

First Up 12/05/23

Polestar Launches Flexible Lease Program

Swedish electric car maker Polestar has launched a flexible lease to keep customers and reservation holders from defecting as it faces delays in bringing a volume crossover to market. Unlike a traditional lease offer, the Polestar Flexible Lease program allows customers to either keep their lease or opt out after five months and five payments. Polestar has just one model on the market — a fastback sedan, reports Automotive News. Next year, the Volvo Cars affiliate will offer two volume crossovers — the Polestar 3 and Polestar 4. The new lease program applies to the Polestar 2 sedan launched in the U.S. in 2020 and the planned crossovers. "We have the in the stables in the two largest segments in the U.S. marketplace," Polestar U.S. CEO Gregor Hembrough said, referring to the Polestar 3 and Polestar 4. "I couldn't be more excited about what's coming around the corner." However, Hembrough must figure out how to get customers and reservation holders to stick with the brand until the new product arrives. The Polestar 3 U.S. launch is delayed until the second quarter of next year. Click here for the full story.

Editorial: Congress Takes on the EV Mandate

House Republicans have teed up a vote this week on legislation to block President Biden’s back-door electric-vehicle mandate. Democrats are spinning the legislation as an attack on public health, innovation, and free markets. The debate is a preview of what we can expect in the 2024 election campaign, according to an editorial The Wall Street Journal. The Environmental Protection Agency “is not imposing an EV mandate,” says a memo from Democrats on the Energy and Commerce Committee opposing the GOP legislation. But the EPA in April proposed tailpipe emissions standards for greenhouse gases that would effectively require that electric vehicles make up two-thirds of car sales in 2032. The only way auto makers could meet the emissions restrictions is by producing more EVs and fewer gas-powered cars. This is a mandate in everything but name, and it’s already causing enormous problems. The House GOP bill would prohibit EPA from finalizing its proposed CO2 emissions standards and bar any regulation that would “mandate the use of any specific technology” or “result in limited availability of new motor vehicles” based on the type of engine. This means EPA couldn’t promulgate a similar new mandate. Click here for the full editorial.

Porsche Dealer Is Using a Digital Tool to Bring in More Customers

Hop off the R train, walk underneath the Gowanus Expressway and past shopping and food complex Industry City and dodge potholes to find Porsche Brooklyn. "It's the opposite of a suburban environment where you can drive, you can park" and not worry about your car, said Sean Johnson, general manager. "Those are your just normal challenges of being in an urban environment." The dealership initially struggled to overcome the challenges of an isolated and industrial area when it opened in July 2022, reports Automotive News. "You're starting from scratch" he said. In a bid to keep marketing expenses low but generate more visitors, Johnson encouraged employees to ask customers to write reviews on social media. It was awkward, Johnson said, and customers just weren't following through. This summer, Johnson met with Podium, a customer review management company that sends customers text messages to solicit reviews. He then watched a demo and launched a trial. "Every day, 'ping,' you see reviews coming through all the time," he said. Johnson learned that responding to a text prompt such as those sent out by Podium was a frictionless way for customers to leave feedback. Click here for the full story.

Toyota to Have Six Electric SUVs in Europe by 2026

While Toyota has been criticized by some as being slow and reluctant to embrace battery-electric vehicles, the company has just answered its critics at an event in Belgium, previewing a series of dedicated BEV models it will introduce in Europe by 2026. The global automotive juggernaut is adopting a multipath approach to carbon neutrality that will include hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid, battery-electric, fuel cell vehicles, hydrogen combustion engines, and e-fuels, depending on market demand and customer needs. In Europe, it will establish a range of six BEVs by 2026, starting with the pre-existing bZ4X, reports Carscoops. Joining the bZ4X that Toyota co-developed with Subaru will be a production version of the bZ Compact SUV concept unveiled 12 months last year. It will be followed by tweaked versions of the Urban SUV Concept and Sport Crossover Concept. Toyota says that the Urban SUV concept will enter what is expected to be Europe’s largest BEV market segment in 2024. It will be followed by the Sport Crossover Concept set to launch in Europe in 2025. The other two remaining Europe-bound BEVs have not yet been previewed. Click here for the full story.

Showrooms Come Alive with the Sound of Music

Ola Sars is a music man of sorts. His company provides background music playlists to car dealerships and other retail spots. For some shoppers, the melodies go in one ear and out the other. But piped-in tunes in their own way, and done right, enhance customer experiences and buying behaviors, says Sars, CEO of Sweden-based Soundtrack Your Brand that offers a B2B music platform. A self-described music lover, he founded his company after working in private equity investing and management consulting. “My passions are sports and music, so I pursued one of them in my career change,” he tells Wards. Sars believes in the psychology of background music and how it affects customers’ in-store experiences. He cites survey results from MRC Data, a data and analytics provider to the music business and consumers, on what U.S. consumers think of background music: 39 percent say the right music influences repeat business at a retailer; 54.9 percent have stayed longer at a business location because of the music; and 41 percent would spend more time and money in a retail location if they’re enjoying the music. Click here for the full story.

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