What does the plug-in hybrid Polestar 1 have in common with the humble Citroën 2CV? Very little, at first glance, but lawyers representing the French carmaker took Volvo's upmarket off-shoot to court over a logo dispute.
Citroën has used its double-chevron logo (shown above, right) since its inception in 1919. Company founder André Citroën chose it because he sold milling gears with chevron-shaped teeth before stepping into the car industry. Polestar's logo (shown above, left) found itself in the spotlight when Geely and Volvo transformed the tuner into a carmaker in 2017, but it also appeared on several Polestar-developed models, including the 350-horsepower S60 introduced in 2013. It evokes one Earth's pole stars, hence the company's name.
Gears and stars aside, the odds of mistaking a Citroën and a Polestar are rather low, and the Parisian court who received the case acknowledged that. But, it also took into account Citroën's claim that the logo it created for its DS division, which it spun off in 2014, was designed around chevrons, too. Finally, it reportedly pointed out that Polestar redesigned its logo in 2017, a decade after Citroën last applied to trademark the double chevrons.
Citroën introduced a far less angular logo in 2009, but the emblem is still made up of one chevron stacked on top of an identical one. All told, the judge handed Polestar a 150,000-euro fine (about $175,000) and prevented it from selling its cars on the French market for six months, according to France's Automobile Magazine. It's certainly not the verdict the Swedes were hoping for, but they're not going to lose a single sale due to the ruling.
"Polestar does not operate in France, and we currently have no plans to operate in France," a spokesperson told Autoblog. He acknowledged there is an on-going legal case in France, but he told us he can't comment on it.