The French manager is convinced that “the increase in the supply of electric vehicles will democratize prices”
Frenchman Stéphane Le Guevel, with over 25 years of experience in automotive management positions, arrives in Spain as director of Polestar Iberia. After holding positions of responsibility within the sector in several countries, such as France, Belgium, the United Kingdom, China or Poland, he joins the Swedish ‘premium’ brand of electric cars to conquer the Spanish and Portuguese markets.
-The clouds that haunt the auto industry, after the pandemic came the semiconductor crisis, then the war in Ukraine and now inflation. Are you afraid that demand will shrink even more?
—The market forecast for this year does not exceed nine hundred thousand registrations in Spain. A very low figure compared to the years before the pandemic, when more than a million cars were sold. Companies go through a cycle of renewing their fleet, which opens up an important market for brands, and on the other hand, the crisis caused by the lack of microchips is something indirect that needs to be solved in the coming year. It is true that people are now thinking more about switching cars, but at the same time it is an opportunity for the implementation of the electric car.
—The deadline for marketing combustion cars in the EU has been set in 2035. What is missing from the electric car to be the solution to mobility needs?
—The demand for electricity will continue to grow. Due to the increase in supply, prices will gradually democratize. We are also switching to a subscription consumption model. As a result, sales of electric cars will grow in the coming years, partly because the residual value of these models is very high.
—Technology moves very fast What will the electric car of 2035 look like?
– The autonomy will be greater. In fact, this is already a reality. Our Polestar 3, which we presented in October, will have a range of more than 600 kilometers. And they will also have more competitive prices.
—The EU has imposed many obligations. Manufacturers have done their homework, has the administration done their homework?
-The rhythm is different in every country. The pressure Brussels has exerted on brands and customers is very strong. Spain today is at the bottom of the European countries in terms of charging infrastructure, but I must also say that an increase in the pace of charging infrastructure development is observed in Spain.
—When do you think there will be enough charging network in Spain to cross the peninsula without suffering?
—This will be progressive in the coming years, making the electric car a solution for long journeys. What’s happening is people have to change their mental chip and stop buying cars thinking about the two long trips they take a year.
—Polestar has just entered the market amid an invasion of new brands. What does Polestar offer different from the rest of the brands?
—It’s in our DNA to be a high-performance company, with a CEO who hails from the world of design, so caring for aesthetics is in our genes and it will be evident when the Polestar 3 arrives ( a full-size SUV). awesome). I would say Polestar offers design, performance, technology and autonomy. We also offer a very complete support network thanks to Volvo, who will be responsible for providing after-sales coverage.
—How did the semiconductor crisis affect you?
—Like all brands, but less because our volume is smaller. We currently have a delivery delay of five months from purchase. The great thing is that the offer is unique for all countries, except in the case of England due to the placement of the handlebars. This allows when configuring the car there is a manufactured model that is very close to what you want, with a detail that is missing, and the website offers it to you if you don’t want to wait and it arrives in six weeks.
—How’s the crowd that Polestar wants to conquer?
—Spain is no exception to the rest of Europe. Our market is 70% fleets of companies and the rest is an audience interested in technology and concerned with the sustainability of the planet.
—How was Polestar 2 accepted in Spain?
—Our goal for this year was to position the brand and make ourselves known. I’m very happy to see that we are having success and that people are talking about Polestar in the terms we wanted to convey. In June we presented the Polestar 2 in Spain and we have already done more than 1,000 driving tests. At the moment we have a dealer in Barcelona and we want to open in Madrid in a few months. What we do is take the car to the customers to test it.
—The cadence of novelties is that of one model per year. The range will initially consist of five models, which one do you think will be the most popular?
“It is difficult to estimate. In a few weeks we will present the Polestar 3, which will be a large SUV like a Porsche Cayenne and in terms of image it will help us enormously. Then there will be a smaller SUV, the Polestar 4, with which we can make the brand more popular as it becomes a model with more volume.The entry-level model of the brand in price will in any case remain the Polestar 2 (from €47,000), which will be the cheapest in the range.Then come the Polestar 5 and the Polestar 6, which already have 500 pre-orders and only the concept has been seen.
—You are responsible for the Iberian Peninsula with two different markets: Spain and Portugal. Is the customer very different?
— Geographically, they are very close, but they are very different customers. The distances in Portugal are shorter, you can travel through the country without recharging. In addition, Portugal is the fourth country to implement the charging network. You also have access to all chargers with an ‘app’. Portugal has it all, including support for the purchase of an electric car. They have done very well there. Here in Spain there are incentives and we are failing in the infrastructure and in the unification of the charging ‘app’. Apart from these differences, the Spanish and Portuguese customer are very similar.
Source: La Verdad