Just over a year after it announced it wanted to create an heir to the Land Rover Defender, INEOS is looking for a place to build it.
INEOS has begun its search for a site to build what it believes will be the world’s best 4x4.
Britain is the favoured location but it has received a number of attractive offers from the UK’s European neighbours.
“Whilst we would love this to be a British vehicle, this is a business venture and our hearts cannot be allowed to rule our heads,” said Tom Crotty, INEOS Director of Corporate Affairs.
INEOS Chairman Jim Ratcliffe, who was born in the North of England, has voiced concern over the years about the slow death of manufacturing in the UK – and the need to reverse it.
But only time will tell whether the UK proves to be the best place for INEOS Automotive to invest hundreds of millions of pounds in producing its Grenadier.
Jim spotted a gap in the 4x4 market early last year when Jaguar Land Rover ceased production of its iconic Defender at its Solihull plant in the West Midlands.
In an interview with INCH magazine last year, he said that INEOS’ Grenadier had been inspired by the Defender but it would not be a replica.
“It might share its spirit,” he said. “But it will be a major improvement on previous models.”
Dirk Heilmann, CEO of INEOS Automotive, said the search for a production site was the latest step in a fantastically exciting project.
“Our plans for the vehicle are well advanced and the time has come to decide where we are going to build it,” he said.
INEOS needs a site capable of producing at least 25,000 cars a year to an extremely high standard.
Green field sites, former car plants and even existing production lines, which can be re-configured for the new vehicle, will all be considered.
“We’ve already had high level discussions with the UK government as well as a lot of international interest,” said Tom.
INEOS says its new 4x4 will be aimed at farmers, forestry workers, explorers and adventurers and enthusiasts.
“It needs to be an uncompromising offroader that not only stands for adventure, but is also capable of being used as a workhorse,” said Jim.
INEOS is determined that its new vehicle will offer a real and pure alternative to the current crop of standardised ‘jelly-mould’ SUV’s.