A new 4x4 workhorse, dubbed by some as the spiritual successor to the old Land Rover Defender, is planned to launch in 2021 with the announcement of a new factory in Wales to assemble it, writes Simon Harris.
Ineos Automotive believes it has identified a gap in the market since the previous Land Rover Defender ceased production in 2016 and the new model moves upmarket.
The Grenadier will feature a ladder framed separate chassis, beam axles and locking differentials to optimise durability in the field. As well as the farming community, Ineos also sees a role for the vehicle among fleets whose drivers need to venture off-road, such as utility companies.
The vehicle will feature a choice of petrol and diesel in-line six-cylinder engines sourced from BMW, with eight-speed automatic transmissions.
The Grenadier will be compliant with global regulations for vehicles, and meet customer expectations for safety technology, including airbags, which the previous Defender never had.
The Grenadier is expected to be unveiled in October 2020, ahead of production in 2021 with a potential capacity for 25,000 units a year to be built.
Ineos Automotive has confirmed that in parallel, it will be investing in a sub- assembly plant in Estarreja, Portugal. The facility will produce the Grenadier’s body and chassis, working in conjunction with Ineos’s European supply chain partners. However, it also sees a role for local component suppliers in the UK.
The company confirmed the Grenadier would initially be launched as a ‘station wagon’, with a pick-up truck to follow. Although prices will not be announced until closer to launch, the company said it wanted to be ‘within reach’ of high-spec versions of the Ford Ranger.
The company said it was aiming to sell to customers “as directly as possible”, although ruled out purely online transactions. Instead, it is hoping to partner with outlets that also sell heavy agricultural machinery, and offer an adequate servicing network.
Dirk Heilmann, chief executive officer of ?Ineos Automotive, said: “Confirming production in the UK, as well as our investment in Portugal, is a major milestone for the project. We are progressing well with the design and engineering work, as well as our marketing and distribution plans.
“In the months ahead, we look forward to sharing more information about the Grenadier, and engaging with local suppliers, the community and region, in advance of the start of production in 2021.”