With the start of Grenadier 4×4 series production at its Hambach, Germany facility, Ineos crossed a significant juncture as one of the world’s largest chemical producers seeks to enter the automobile manufacturing arena.
“We’ve come a long way since the project kicked off in 2017 and this is a landmark moment for Ineos Automotive as a vehicle manufacturer,” said Mark Tennant, Ineos Automotive Commercial director.
“To get to this point is a testament to the resilience and hard work of the entire Ineos Automotive team, our development partners and our suppliers — for which we thank them all as we now look forward to making our first deliveries to customers.”
An SUV inspired by Land Rover
The vehicle being built is the Ineos Grenadier, a body-on-frame SUV with a body comprised of steel and aluminum and a look that recalls the previous-generation Land Rover Defender. In development since 2017, it’s the vision of Ineos CEO Sir Jim Ratcliff, a 4×4 enthusiast, who mourned the loss of the original Defender and vowed to build one himself, forming Ineos Automotive, a division of the world’s third-largest chemical company. They bought a factory from Daimler AG in Hambach, Germany, and set about building an approximation of the old Land Rover Defender.
The Grenadier was developed with partners BMW Group and Magna Steyr. Ineos Automotive has set up its North American headquarters in Raleigh, North Carolina.
The Grenadier is offered as a five-seat Station Wagon, a two-seat and five-seat Utility Wagon, a basic 4×4 with the refinement of a contemporary SUV. The floor of the two-seat variant is flat and can accommodate a pallet. To provide the best combination of payload and rear passenger space, the Station Wagon has five seats, with the second row set further back than in the five-seat Utility model.
The undercarriage has front and rear skid plates, rock sliders, as well as protection for the oil pan, transmission, the three differentials, and the fuel tank with up to four mil grade steel.
Power will come from a BMW turbocharged inline 6-cylinder engine and ZF 8-speed automatic transmission with manual shift capability, 2-speed transfer case, three locking differentials, and a 7,700-pound towing capacity. A manual transmission will not be offered. A diesel engine will be sold in most markets, but not the United States or Canada due to the difficulty meeting emission requirements.
“In terms of capability and rugged dependability, you’ve got a vehicle that’s built for a 30-year lifespan plus rather than a 10-year lifespan,” Greg Clark, executive vice president for Ineos Automotive, told The Detroit Bureau.com in an exclusive interview in 2021.
Dealers to be named soon
While the company has yet to announce its 35 U.S. retail partners, the company expects to disclose them by 2023.
Further out, the company is beginning to test an all-electric Grenadier powered by a hydrogen fuel cell.
“I think the Grenadier is perfect for a hydrogen engine — in time,” said Ratcliffe during an interview posted on the company’s website in May. “But what we’re also looking at quite carefully at the moment is a smaller version of the Grenadier electric. We need to embrace the future, which is clearly in an urban environment going to be electric.”
The new model will use an all-new smaller platform than the Grenadier and its ladder-frame chassis, while retaining its off-road capability. Future models will also include a Grenadier pickup truck, an SUV with a long wheelbase, and a station wagon with a tiny pickup cutaway at the back.