Ineos Automotive has finally whipped the veil off its new Grenadier 4×4 following months of hype.
The agricultural industry is expected to be a key market for the firm’s debut vehicle and the company has made no secret of its intent to fill the gap vacated by the old, working-class Land Rover Defender.
Uncompromisingly angular exterior tinwork, pockmarked with retro rounded lights and a horizontal bar grille, will undoubtedly chime with those that favour function over fashion.
The design also takes plenty of visual cues from Mercedes’ bombproof G-Wagen, which is no surprise given Ineos’ tie-up with Austrian engineering specialist Magna Steyr.
The company is already heavily involved in the construction of Merc’s hard-as-nails 4×4.
Other headline partners include BMW, which will contribute petrol and diesel versions of its straight-six, 3-litre engine, and gearbox builder ZF – the provider of an eight-speed automatic.
This will run through a permanent four-wheel drive system with locking differentials and a selectable low range.
The list of mainsteam components ends with a box-section ladder frame chassis from Gestam, which is paired with Carraro beam axles to complete a pretty old-school off-roader setup.
Most importantly for farming buyers, the Grenadier will have a 3.5t towing capacity and 1t payload, putting it shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Ford’s Ranger truck and the Nissan Navara.
The rear deck on the pickup version will also accommodate a Euro pallet.
Images of the interior remain off-limits, but buyers have been promised hose-down footwells and tough, unfussy switchgear.
Storage capacity has apparently been made a priority, too.
The vehicle will be built at a new facility in Bridgend, Wales, with production set to start late in 2021, once the company has completed its targeted 1.8m kilometres of on- and off-road testing.
The plant will initially create 200 jobs and up to 500 in the long term.
Ineos Automotive: the background
Ineos, the chemicals and energy giant owned by Sir Jim Ratcliffe, decided to form a car-building subsidiary after identifying a gap in the market for a stripped-back, utilitarian 4×4.
The company was keen to buy the blueprints for the old Land Rover Defender but, after its approach was swiftly rebuffed, decided to develop its own.
With no experience of British car manufacturing, Ineos Automotive recruited specialists from the likes of Ford, Daimler, Volkswagen, Bentley, Tesla, Jaguar Land Rover and Lotus.
It then set about ploughing hundreds of millions of pounds into the “engineering-led” design process to develop a no-nonsense, four-wheel drive designed primarily for work.