News : INEOS Grenadier’s styling has a familiar look

Ineos Grenadier

INEOS Automotive has revealed the styling of the Grenadier off-roader, and it’s all looking a bit familiar. It started out as an idea three years ago, and is now getting very serious indeed, with prototypes in testing, a new deal inked with Magna Steyr, a factory being built in Wales and a section of the market pining after a direct replacement for the original Land Rover Defender.

Built from the ground up on an all-new platform, the INEOS Grenadier has been designed on purpose: namely to meet the demands of its future owners for a rugged, capable and comfortable go-anywhere working vehicle. That it looks like a Land Rover Defender is hardly a surprise – but what is impressive is just how similar it looks.

‘The brief was simple. We set out to design a modern, functional and highly capable 4×4 vehicle with utility at its core’, said Toby Ecuyer, Head of Design. We assume his is one of the easiest jobs in the industry. He continued: ‘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.’

Austrian development

INEOS Automotive has confirmed that the Austrian four-wheel drive and volume-build specialist Magna Steyr will undertake series development of the Grenadier on the company’s stamping ground of the Shöckl mountain near Graz. This is great news for anyone who thinks that INEOS will have its work cut out making the Grenadier working properly off-road – the company recently perfected the new G-Wagen for Mercedes-Benz there.

The company says that Magna Powertrain has been working on the chassis and suspension systems onboard since inception. The development comes on the back of the recent announcement that the Grenadier will be built in a bespoke new factory on a greenfield site in Bridgend, South Wales, not far from where Ford announced it will be closing its engine factory. INEOS Automotive says this will create 200 jobs initially, and up to 500 in the long term. Site development is now under way to support a planned start of production in 2021.

The new car, which was conceived to replace the original Land Rover Defender now that Jaguar Land Rover has moved its successor upmarket, will be built in volumes of up to 25,000 per year in Wales. A new sub-assembly plant at Estarreja in Portugal will produce the Grenadier’s body and chassis, working in conjunction with the company’s European supply chain partners. INEOS has also confirmed that the new car will be powered by BMW’s B57/B58 engine family, so each Grenadier will have a modular 3.0-litre petrol or diesel straight six which sends its drive through a ZF-supplied eight-speed automatic gearbox and a separate low-range transfer case.

Government backing for the new plant

Marketing chief Tom Crotty told CAR, ‘the Grenadier will be an uncompromising 4×4 with a ladder chassis, beam axles, locking differentials. It [will] initially be in station wagon guise, but other bodies [will] follow, starting with a twin-cab pick-up. Aftermarket specialists [are going to] be encouraged to come up with their own configurations and accessories. There will be long and short wheelbases.’

Welsh Government Economy and Transport Minister, Ken Skates, said: ‘This announcement is great news for Wales and I’m delighted Ineos Automotive will be setting up home in Bridgend which has a long history of skilled manufacturing expertise. The Welsh Government has worked closely with the company to make this happen and I look forward to seeing the development of the new site progress ahead of the planned start of production in 2021.’

INEOS Group Chairman 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.’

And on the design?

Dirk Heilmann, INEOS Automotive’s 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 added: ‘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 4×4 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.’

…and apparently different enough to the Defender not to have Jaguar Land Rover’s lawyers knocking on the door!

Keith Adams

37 Comments

  1. Just why does a “greenfield site” need to be lost to this admittedly worthwhile project? With all the supposed closed industrial sites in south Wales, surely one could one found by Ineos. Yet more destruction of the environment. I’d back Extinction Revolution camping out on this sward of our ONCE green and pleasant land.

    • @ Eric Hayman: I agree with you completely on this. As the project started three years ago then Ineos could have looked at potential sites that we already knew were likely to close, such as the Bridgend engine assembly plant owned by Ford or even Longbridge in the West Midlands.

      The process of demolishing an existing plant which still has some functional use and building an all-new facility on a greenfield site is definitely not showing a commitment to the environment, either by the Ineos Group or Welsh Government. If we’re honest, Jaguar Land Rover committed the same ‘crime’ when building their engine plant in Wolverhampton rather than identifying an existing redundant factory to transform and reuse.

      Then again, ‘we’ are already doing something similar with old stock housing up and down the country just to artificially sustain jobs in the “precious” construction industry, so perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise.

  2. I do hope the project succeeds, but what irony that one of the biggest brexiters in the country is having his vehicle bodies produced in Europe!

    • Seems a bit odd to have 2 separate plants to produce this, it would surely make more sense to produce the whole thing in either Wales or Portugal?

      • Probably more democratic than the unholy alliance of billionaire tax dodgers, their brainwashed Neanderthal goons & other Putin / Trump worshippers who (think they) have something to gain from getting the EU out the way.

  3. I wish it well, but I fear that they target a narrow segment of the market, squeezed between the cheap and cheerful pick ups from Asia and the more sophisticated SUVs.

    Add into that the push to electromobility, Rural Defender customers are very suited to be adopters, they don’t go far or fast, low torque electric power is great for hauling and off road and they invariably have access to off street parking, 3 phase power supply (many generating their own power through solar and wind) and will desire the simplicity, reliability and low sevicing of an EV power train.

    It makes me wonder as to why they have not got at EV version at launch!

    Could it be the Brexit mindset has of its creator is looking back rather than forward?

  4. Very surprised that this “basic” off roader will have 3 litre 6 cylinder BMW engines (petrol or diesel), when the new Defender uses 2 litre Ingenium units.

    The Grenadier will have an awful lot of power, surely not needed for the roles it will be undertaking?

  5. Not built in Wales just assembled with a body and chassis made in Portugal.,the engine made in Germany so the factory isn’t building cars it’s assembling CKD kits. It’ll be interesting to see how it does but Ineos will have it’s work cut out with the established Japanese 4×4 manufacturers such as Isuzu Mitsubishi,Nissan & Toyota having such a grip on the market segment

  6. Not sure it matters whether they are assembling or building – it’s in the UK – it’s work for people and it’s a brave venture – let all of us glass half full guys get behind it.

    • The car industry is multinational now and most cars are assembled from parts made all over the world. At least the body will be British and the Grenadier could create hundreds of jobs in Wales and hopefully thousands of exported models, so let’s back it.

      • Multinational and parts from all over the world – yes! But not body and chassis, vehicle manufacturers will not even ship skin panels these days. The low density leads to very high logistics costs – costs that your efficient competitor does not have. Vehicle manufacturers use body and engine manufacture as a big chunk of added value, it does not make sense to give this margin to your suppliers because the more you do this the less margin you have for yourself.

  7. Being positive – Radcliff is not Delorean. He has the money.
    I’ve met consultants who are putting in his ERP system and they say it’s all top grade best of breed and these guys have worked on projects at BMW. They’ve got a “virtual factory” up and running now.
    He’s got a billion cash in the bank ringfenced for this project. Only question in my mind – where are his dealers? If he’d done this a few years earlier could have bought the shell of rover…

  8. By the time this vehicle is launched there should be a plug in Hybrid Defender available, and there’s going to be a massive change to Electric and Hybrid vehicles in the couple of years, will this vehicle find itself behind the times or will it be able to find enough buyers in its niche?

  9. I’ve a sneaking suspicion hybrid and electric going to blow up in a lot of people’s faces in short order because customers aren’t buying them for climate reasons (which is good because they’re unmitigated shite for the environment) they’re buying them because cheap electricity.

    As soon as that changes, and it will, demand will go down quicker than the MV Estonia.

    And of all the possible engine choices why pick Bavarian Money Wasters – plenty of other viable options.

  10. Sad that none of the design and engineering has been done by UK companies. We have some of the best automotive engineering and design consultancies. Ironic given Radcliffe’s support for Brexit.

  11. I can only hope it is a better thing than the Defender that had the BMW engine, they were bloody awful and the company I was working for ended up getting shot of them all and using Ford Rangers which were cheaper to buy, cheaper to run, more comfortable and more reliable.
    Land Rover lost the plot towards the end of the Defender and the replacement isn’t going to serve the market it should be aimed because that market was lost a long, long time ago. It will be much more likely seen on the school run, parked on the pavement to justify the off road capability.

    • The Defender never used BMW engines. Final versions of the car used Ford Puma diesels – also used in the Transit. The new car is indeed targeting a different market, a profitable one – and frankly I couldn’t give a stuff if owners of the new car choose to allow their children to travel in it now and again!

      • There was a South African produced Defender with a BMW engine.
        How do you know that this different market is profitable? It is certainly a relatively small niche market with very few players outside military (that is not profitable!) Unimog maybe?

  12. All sorts of flag waving nonsense has accompanied every article about this car, yet it becomes more Teutonic by the minute – BMW engines and Steyr drive trains. This factory in South Wales will be like Vauxhall at Ellesmere port – a screwdriver operation receiving crates of parts from the Fatherland.

    • Forgot to add that they mention Carraro – this is a large long established and very reputable Italian supplier of 4wd tractor axles so Ineos are going down a tough proven and pragmatic/cost effective sourcing route.

  13. It will be really interesting to see how well this sells (vs the new Defender) and whether Ineos actually make a profit on the enterprise. There was always a market for a modern day “original” Defender, but is the market large enough to make a return?

    One thing in its favour I guess is that they won’t have to make many changes to it over the years.

  14. Strongly recommend the videos on the Grenadier website – you can see how much effort is being put in and what a serious piece of well thought through offroad kit it will be. Bridgend will be more than just a CKD site. Portugal is a good low cost manufacturing country not too far from the UK.

  15. Well, I do wish it all the best and hope it sustains those hundreds of jobs in Wales. It is a real shame that Land Rover has repositioned the Defender into a segment that was once the domain of the Discovery, which itself looks rather a pointless offering these days. Particularly in terms of frontal styling, packaging and pricing which makes it compete more with Range Rover offerings. There really is a ludicrous amount of overlap in Land Rover’s ever expanding product range which can’t be sustainable long term.

    If the Grenadier finds appeal as a no nonsense off-roader that is happy getting its axles submerged in mud on farms, in quarries and forests etc. then hopefully it will encourage potential buyers to be supporting jobs in this country again. And wouldn’t it be nice to see our army using them too as a replacement for their ageing Land Rovers? Even better, its success won’t be built on brand snobbery or Kings Road posing power, but on something more honest.

    Hopefully in time there will also be the availability of smaller, more fuel efficient engine options.

    Good luck to it, I say!

  16. Disappointing choice of engine. I would have expected a petrol V8 in view of torque required at low revs.

  17. Like the look of it, not sure about it being equipped with just 3-litre petrol and diesel engines as opposed to an entry-level 2-litre and range-topping V8 engine options.

    Also curious to know whether SWB 3-door and 2-door pick-up versions are in the pipeline?

  18. I’ve seen pictures of a pick up, but it’s a four door crew cab. I’m pretty sure there is an SWB version.
    I imagine by sticking to one shape of engine they are minimising development costs. Being BMW units there will be lots of software options to vary the power output, up or down

  19. Yes much of the work was outsourced to outside companies in other countries but this is a fledgling operation that once up and running will become more capable of independent development and manufacturing within its own facilities. 25000 units per year sounds modest but I’m sure they will ramp up production and expand operations over time especially with exports to global markets (Australia would be an ideal market as the similar Toyota 70 series Landcruiser is still popular here which the Grenadier would directly compete).

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