Chemicals billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe has seen a gap in the market after Land Rover ended production of the late Defender three years ago. His vision named, ‘The Grenadier’ is a rugged 4×4 which he calls the ‘spiritual successor’ of the Land Rover Defender. It will be a tool for farmers, foresters and aid agencies, not a fashion statement!
The British-built Ineos Automotive Grenadiers’ vision is coming alive and they have chosen to build its ‘Land Rover Defender‘ inspired 4×4 vehicle close to the Ford Bridgend factory in Wales which is due to close in 2020 with the loss of 1,700 jobs. Project Grenadier is expected to initially create around 200 jobs, and up to 500 in the long term. This is obviously a welcome arrival in the area with Project Grenadier hopefully utilising some of Ford’s transferable skilled workforce into the new factory.
Prototypes are already being tested in Austria and we’ll see the car this time next year, with sales expected to start in 2021. There’s already talk of the second generation – with a hydrogen fuel cell version being considered. It has received support from the Welsh Government and funding from the UK Government as part of a competition to develop new technologies. BMW will supply the engines, and engineering assistance will be provided by another German company, MBTech.
The “spiritual successor” to the Land Rover Defender
You only have to look at the images to see where the inspiration came from! Sir Jim Ratcliffe says the car aims to be the “spiritual successor” to the Land Rover Defender!
It is expected 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. There will be long and short wheelbases.
It’s a utility vehicle, a working tool! Its dimensions to be roughly the same as the old Defender, with short overhangs. It will be narrower than the current BMW X5, and low enough to fit into a typical garage.
And the interior… a spokesperson said ‘We want to keep it as simple as possible. But we also have to be aware of our customers’ expectations. The 21st-century hammer involves plugging something in. We will meet all the regulations. We will have an abundance of USB sockets, we will have Bluetooth. But we won’t have tech for its own sake. This vehicle needs to be self-reliant in the field and incredibly reliable.’
Will the Grenadier be hot competition against the New Land Rover Defender?
After the release of the new version of the Land Rover Defender at the Frankfurt Motor Show last week it received mixed reviews from our readers. Many of you said “It’s too expensive”, “too many curves” “Looks a bit Jeepy from behind” “they’ve priced themselves out of the utility market”, another comment was that “Land Rover has pushed the Defender into the luxury car market”. I would just like to point out there was also a ‘lot of love’ for the new Land Rover Defender too!
So, has Sir John Ratcliffe got the right vision with his utility vehicle? Will these two vehicles really be in direct competition? Or has Land Rover moved their new Defender out of the utility market?
The Grenadier does look more on track with what the ‘original Defender customer’ needs from a 4X4. The Defender was always the farmers’ tool and the workhorse of the Land Rover range – you wouldn’t seriously want to get a plus £45,000 car scruffy and muddy down on the farm, would you?
I guess we will have to wait and see where the new Ineos Grenadier will sit in the 4×4 market! It will be interesting to see the price of the grenadier – there is no word yet!
So who do you think has got the right vision? Let us know by leaving a comment in the box below.