Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath has some interesting stories to tell about his journey to the Beijing auto show, which started Saturday.
His first experience took place on Sept. 4 at the airport in Stockholm, where he says even the people at the check-in counter were covered in full protective gear to prevent the possible spread of COVID-19.
That was also the case on the plane.
“All the flight attendants for the whole journey were in this complete white suit,” he told me via video chat from his hotel room in Beijing on Thursday. “What a strain to do that job in that hot environment, but they were all super friendly.”
He said the process at his first destination in China, Tianjin, was also well run when he arrived on Sept. 5.
Like other international visitors, Ingenlath was required to quarantine for 14 days in Tianjin, which is about 115 km (about 70 miles) southeast of Beijing.
This Tweet by Ingenlath’s boss, Volvo Cars CEO Hakan Samuelsson, provides a quick recap of the Polestar chief’s final day in quarantine.
Ingenlath was given the all clear on Sept. 19.
Because of the pandemic and travel restrictions China has imposed, most international automakers have chosen not to send executives to the show, according to a survey of companies by Automotive News Europe and Automotive News.
Ingenlath is one of the rare exceptions. He used the Beijing show to announce Polestar would produce the Precept.
When we spoke he said that while rules are not “relaxed” in China, he feels people there have more freedom to gather in groups than in Europe at the moment.
“In Europe, that would definitely be questioned,” he said. “So, it’s a little bit back to normal here.”