Ineos Automotive has announced that its utilitarian 4×4 will be named ‘Grenadier’ after the pub in which it was conceived, with more than 6000 international fans and followers responding to an online poll to choose the vehicle’s name. 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 for a replacement for the original Land Rover Defender.
Ineos Automotive has confirmed that the Austrian four-wheel drive, and volume-build specialist Magna Steyr will undertake series development of the Grenadier – and it has issued the above photo of the team responsible alongside a Pinzgauer 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 – it recently perfected the new G-Wagen for Mercedes-Benz.
Magna Powertrain has been working on the chassis and suspension systems onboard since inception, according to the company. The development comes om 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 planned start of production in 2021.
The new car, which was conceived to replace the Land Rover Defender now that JLR has moved it upmarket, will be built in volumes of up to 25,000 per year in Wales. The bodies and chassis will be built in a sub-assembly plant in Estarreja, Portugal. The facility 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’s engine will be a 3.0-litre BMW straight-six.
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 would initially be in station wagon guise, but other bodies would follow, starting with a twin-cab pick-up. Aftermarket specialists would 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.’