Foreign PolicyForeign Policy

Chinese-made electric cars arrive stateside

By Lili Pike

01 Sep 2023 · 6 min read

informed Summary

  1. Polestar, a Swedish electric vehicle (EV) company owned by Chinese car company Geely, is making a significant push into the American market. It plans to have 40 retail locations across the U.S. by the end of 2022 and to begin producing cars out of a South Carolina factory in 2024.

In July, the electric car company Polestar unveiled a new dealership just blocks away from the White House in Washington, D.C. At the opening event, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser welcomed its arrival as a boost to the capital’s green transition; the dealership’s chief operating officer praised the brand’s “Swedish craftsmanship.” Absent from the ceremony was any mention of Polestar’s connections to China.

Polestar was founded in Sweden and remains headquartered there but is now owned by the Chinese car company Geely. It may be little-known compared to Chinese electric vehicle (EV) titan BYD, which recently surpassed Tesla to top global EV sales, but it can claim this title: It is the first Chinese-owned EV company to make a major push into the American market. Its U.S. sales reached nearly 10,000 in 2022; while modest, U.S. trade data suggests those sales already make Polestar by far the top exporter of electric cars from China to the United States. And it has its sights set higher: Polestar plans to have 40 retail locations across the U.S. by the end of the year and to begin producing cars out of a South Carolina factory in 2024.

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