The unofficial successor to the Defender gathers steam
Ineos is an industrial chemical conglomerate, so not perhaps the first company you’d imagine to start producing vehicles. Yet for the past two years it has been carefully putting together a team of designers, engineers and business experts to create a vehicle that they all feel will fill a vacuum.
When Jaguar Land Rover stopped production of the Defender, Jim Ratcliffe, chairman of Ineos, saw a need for a replacement that would not be the new Defender it looks like JLR will produce.
Instead of going more tech, more complexity, the idea is to go more to the spirit and engineering of the original. It’s a bold approach, but the whole philosophy of the company, a fresh face in car manufacturing, is certainly different.
Where most development goes on behind security doors, the Ineos team is going to be far more transparent. That’s why Ineos has just launched a website and social media presence for the project. The projektgrenadier.com website is now live and will load insights and development news on how the programme is progressing.
Ineos Automotive CEO Dirk Heilmann said: “We are extremely keen to hear the opinions and recommendations of the off-roading public about how we can make this the best 4×4 possible.”
This inclusive approach will gain many fans, an approach which will extend to a competition to give a name to the new off-roader.
At the moment, the vehicle, which will be built in the UK, is in development and next year we will hear where in the UK the new factory will be built. By the end of 2018 we should see what it will look like, with production starting the following year, and deliveries starting in 2020. Whatever it is called.