If The New Defender Isn’t For You, Then Perhaps Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s New Grenadier 4×4 Will Be More Your Style
Ineos Automotive was founded by British businessman Sir Jim Ratcliffe with the aim of producing a no-frills utilitarian 4×4 that would cater to clients requiring a tough and rugged vehicle to take on the harshest environments. Intended to be a modern take on classics like the Series 1 Land Rover and J40 Toyota Land Cruiser, Ineos has now confirmed that its new 4×4 will be built at a brand-new plant in Bridgend, South Wales. The announcement of the new manufacturing plant is great news for the beleaguered UK automotive market and the project is part of a £600 million ($748 million) investment by Ineos that will eventually create up to 500 jobs in the industry.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe said, “We have looked long and hard at possible manufacturing locations for Grenadier across the world with lots of good options to choose from. The decision to build in the UK is a significant expression of confidence in British manufacturing, which has always been at the heart of what Ineos stands for.”
Named the Grenadier, after the pub in which the idea for the rugged 4×4 was first conceived, the plans are to have the vehicle ready for market by 2021. According to the company, it is well advanced into the development stage and early prototypes are already being tested in demanding conditions. A powertrain partnership with the BMW Group means that the German firm’s renowned TwinPower Turbo gas and diesel engines will be powering the Grenadier, all will be equipped with an eight-speed automatic transmission. No manual is on the cards sadly.
The suspension setup will feature a coil-sprung live axle design to take on the roughest terrain and the ladder-frame chassis and bolt-on body design suggest that a number of variants could be built. Ineos may only stick to a few body styles initially but it is keen on aftermarket suppliers suggesting their own equipment for the Grenadier.
Not much has been revealed of the Grenadier’s external design but it is expected to be just as low on frills as the rest of the vehicle with short front and rear overhangs to aid off-road ability and a boxy silhouette in the vein of classic Land Rovers. The theme throughout each phase of development is one of extreme durability and the interior will also be basic but functional.
While final assembly will be taken care of in the new Bridgend plant, a sub-assembly plant in Estarreja, Portugal is also being constructed. It will produce the Grenadier’s body and chassis, working in conjunction with Ineos’s European supply chain partners. The eventual plans are to build up to 25,000 vehicles per year. Pricing has not been confirmed yet but it should be in the region of £25,000 ($31,000) to well over £30,000 ($37,000) depending on specification levels. Further details will be unveiled in the new year, but for now, we think that Ineos could be onto a winner with the Grenadier.
Images courtesy of Ineos Automotive