By Harshita Mary Varghese
(Reuters) -Polestar Automotive Holding, reported 2023 deliveries on Thursday that fell short of its target, as the Swedish electric vehicle (EV) maker’s higher-priced models struggled to generate demand in an uncertain economy.
Elevated interest rates to tame stubbornly high inflation resulted in weak demand for Polestar’s luxury vehicles, as buyers flocked toward lower-priced alternatives.
CEO Thomas Ingenlath said in November Polestar was chasing profitability rather than volumes with its focus on premium rather than mass market sales and would shy away from cutting prices.
The company delivered 54,600 vehicles last year, compared with its target of about 60,000. Fourth-quarter deliveries fell nearly 8% from the previous three-month period to 12,800 units, which includes 880 units of Polestar 4 compact luxury crossover in China.
“We did know that the number would be affected slightly because they are increasing the deliveries of their Polestar 4 vehicle in China and as a result of that, they’ve then lowered the production of the Polestar 2, which has been historically the only vehicle that they’ve been delivering,” said Andres Sheppard, senior analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald.
Polestar’s U.S.-listed shares more than halved in value last year.
The company had trimmed its 2023 delivery forecast in November for the second time, to about 60,000 vehicles, down from its already tempered estimate of between 60,000 and 70,000. Its original target was 80,000 vehicles.
Tesla reported earlier this month that it delivered a record number of EVs in the fourth quarter, beating market estimates and meeting its 2023 target, but fell short of CEO Elon Musk’s ambitious 2 million annual internal target.
It lost its crown as the top EV maker to China’s BYD, last quarter. Musk has blamed high interest rates for slackening demand.
Polestar also said on Thursday it has appointed Per Ansgar as interim chief financial officer.
(Reporting by Harshita Mary Varghese and Arsheeya Bajwa; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Subhranshu Sahu)