Ineos Automotive has revealed the exterior design of the new Grenadier 4x4, due to be launched in 2021, writes Simon Harris.
The project, which will see car and commercial vehicle versions of the Grenadier assembled in Wales, uses a new platform and sought to create an authentic 4x4 workhorse.
Visually similar to the original Land Rover Defender, which ceased production in 2016, the Grenadier will be built at a new factory in Bridgend, and will use a six-cylinder diesel engine shared with BMW, as well as a ZF automatic transmission.
Ineos will offer a double-cab pick-up truck version, in addition to the standard silhouette.
The company believes that as Land Rover's new Defender, and other authentic 4x4 vehicles, have moved upmarket to attract fashion-conscious customers, they have left a gap in the market for a 4x4 with off-road ability as its core feature.
“The brief was simple. We set out to design a modern, functional and highly capable 4x4 vehicle with utility at its core”, said Toby Ecuyer, head of design. “A design that is ‘easy-to-read’, with no ambiguity about the Grenadier’s role in life.
"There to do everything you need, and nothing you don’t. Nothing is for show. Modern engineering and production techniques ensure the Grenadier is highly capable, but we have been able to stay true to the essence of creating a utilitarian vehicle that will stand the test of time”.
Dirk Heilmann, Ineos Automotive CEO, said: “We are delighted to be able to share the design of the Grenadier so early in the process. Most manufacturers would hold back, but we are a new business, building a new brand, and we want to take people with us on this exciting journey.
“Showing the design now allows us to focus on the critical next phase of the vehicle’s development, testing its capability and durability. We have a very challenging programme ahead, as we put prototypes through their paces in all conditions, on the way to accumulating some 1.8 million test kilometres over the coming year. From today the covers are off. Testing ‘in plain sight’ without the need for camouflage wrapping, foam blocks or fake panels is an added benefit.”
Sir Jim Ratcliffe, chairman of Ineos, said: “The Grenadier project started by identifying a gap in the market, abandoned by a number of manufacturers, for a utilitarian off-road vehicle. This gave us our engineering blueprint for a capable, durable and reliable 4x4 built to handle the world’s harshest environments. But it had to look the part as well. As you will see today, Toby and his team have done a great job in delivering a design that is both distinctive and purposeful.”
The company has a target to build up to 25,000 units a year, with body and chassis produced in Portugal, then shipped to Wales for assembly.
There are no plans for an individual retailer network, instead it will target existing sites with dealers of agricultural products.