As INEOS gears up to build its no frills Grenadier in the UK, engineers put it through its paces
INEOS’ new, no frills 4x4 will be built in Britain – and it will be named after the London pub where the idea was born. The long-awaited announcement followed months of soul searching for the best possible location.
“We looked long and hard at possible manufacturing locations across the world,” said INEOS Chairman and Founder Sir Jim Ratcliffe. But Bridgend in South Wales beat the lot.
“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,” said Jim.
As INCH went to press, work was well underway to build its manufacturing and assembly plant in the small Welsh market town.
Economy and Transport Minister Ken Skates said the Welsh Government had worked closely with INEOS to make it happen.
“This is great news for Wales,” he said. “And Bridgend has a long history of skilled manufacturing expertise.”
The new manufacturing plant is being built on a 14-acre plot of land close to Ford Bridgend’s 40-year-old plant, which is due to close in 2020, with the loss of 1,700 jobs.
Production of The Grenadier – named after a poll of INEOS Automotive’s online followers – is due to start in 2021, and is expected to create up to 500 jobs.
Key parts for the 4x4, including the body and chassis, will be built at a second, sub-assembly factory in Estarreja, Portugal, before being brought to Bridgend for assembly.
BMW will supply the engines, and another German company, MBTech, a former subsidiary of Mercedes Benz, has been awarded the engineering contract.
The Grenadier has been described as the spiritual successor to the Land Rover Defender, which ceased production in January 2016.
“That left a serious hole in the marketplace and we are going to plug that gap,” said Jim.
The Grenadier will be rugged, capable, durable and functional – and easy to repair in a field.
“It will be a working tool to get the job done,” said Dirk Heilmann, CEO INEOS Automotive. “No frills. No fuss.
Pushing to the extreme
The Grenadier is being designed to withstand the toughest conditions in the world. For the past 12 months, the development team has been running a chassis and suspension “mule” to test the durability of these critical components. And so far it is faring well.
And the team have been trying their hardest to find The Grenadier’s weak spots – for months. “Believe me, we’re looking for them,” said Alex. In fact, they have been pushing The Grenadier, INEOS’ no frills 4 x 4, to the extreme.
It has already covered several thousand kilometres on and off-road.
Most of the tests have been carried out at Austria’s Graz Magna proving grounds – a favoured place to test military trucks and tanks.
“It was the ideal environment for us because we were able to push the vehicle beyond expectations,” he said.
The prototype has also been put through its paces at Germany’s Boxberg testing ground, which is used by all major European car manufacturers.
But its most recent test took it to the 4,593ft summit of Austria’s Schoeckl Mountain, which is seen as the place where 4x4s can let themselves go as they tackle the punishing climb over sharp limestone rocks to the top.
“Historically it has been used by Daimler for the G-class,” said Alex. “But The Grenadier handled it extremely well.”
Discover more at: www.ineosgrenadier.com