📂︎ News | 🖳︎ Wayne Gorrett | 🖃︎ July 1, 2020
➤ To be priced in the region of £30,000 to £40,000, production is to commence late 2021.
Following several years of anticipation, INEOS Automotive today reveals the exterior design of the Grenadier, its no-nonsense 4×4 vehicle for the world.
Project Grenadier – estimated to cost around £600 million – started with an informal chat over a few beers in a pub called ‘The Grenadier’, located in the ultra-posh London neighbourhood of Belgravia. It was the spring of 2016, just a few weeks after the last Land Rover Defender rolled off the production line after 67 years in production.
Designed and built from the ground up on an all-new platform, the INEOS Grenadier has been developed – both for, and on – purpose: namely to meet the demands of its future owners for a rugged, capable and comfortable go-anywhere working vehicle.
While we knew that this would be an uncompromising, utilitarian off-road vehicle developed along the lines of the previous iteration of the Land Rover Defender, the images confirm that car’s boxy exterior, narrow width, short wheel base, wheel-at-each-corner and flat glass design provided heavy inspiration. Up front, we can also see aesthetic odes to early versions of the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen.
The clearest Defender inspiration is at the front, where the Grenadier shares the same round headlights and horizontal bar grille design, with integrated centre auxiliary lamps included as standard. The front lamps are the same units on the left and the right, making service and parts availability easier; similarly the rear lamps are a common unit for exactly the same reasons. INEOS says the front fenders are strong enough to sit on for observing more closely the road ahead.
Alongside the Grenadier are functional bump strips on the doors and an optional ‘utility belt’ to the doors and rear body, to which loads like water bags or accessories such as jerry cans can be attached.
The rear seems to defer to the Defender with its boxy, non-nonsense design. There is a split rear door, with the smaller, left-side door opening first to enable easy loading and unloading of smaller items. A rear-mounted ladder can be fitted to aid access to the roof, and its design will align with the shut lines of the tailgate. Storage boxes on the rear side are accessible from the exterior for grubby, smelly kit.
The Grenadier offers as standard exterior wiring, with exit points to the front and the rear of the roof, which allows easy access for powering auxiliary lamps, work lamps or emergency or hazard beacons.
Since its early days, INEOS have always deflected claims that the Grenadier will be a Defender look-a-like, but it’s hard to get away from that when studying these first exterior images – Defender-cross-G-Wagen springs to mind – and to be honest, that is no bad thing!
“The brief was simple”, said Toby Ecuyer, Grenadier’s Head of Design, “We set out to design a modern, functional and highly capable 4×4 vehicle with utility at its core…a design that is ‘easy-to-read’, with no ambiguity about the vehicle’s role in life. There to do everything you need and nothing you don’t. Nothing is for show. Modern engineering and production techniques ensure the Grenadier is highly capable, but we have been able to stay true to the essence of creating a utilitarian vehicle that will stand the test of time”.
Dirk Heilmann, INEOS Automotive’s CEO, said: “Showing the design now allows us to focus on the critical next phase of the vehicle’s development, that of testing its capability and durability. We have a very challenging programme ahead, as we put prototypes through their paces in all conditions, on the way to accumulating some 1.8 million test kilometres over the coming year. From today the covers are off. Testing ‘in plain sight’ without the need for camouflage wrapping, foam blocks or fake panels, is an added benefit.”
Chemicals magnate Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Chairman of INEOS Automotive, said: “The Grenadier project started by identifying a gap in the market, abandoned by a number of manufacturers, for a utilitarian off-road vehicle. This gave us our engineering blueprint for a capable, durable and reliable 4×4 built to handle the world’s harshest environments. But it had to look the part as well. As you will see today, Toby and his team have done a great job in delivering a design that is both distinctive and purposeful.”
A whole host of different variants, body styles and wheelbase lengths of the Grenadier are planned, as part of its brief to fill the void of the original Land Rover Defender as a back to basics 4×4 that’s a spiritual successor to that car.
As present, there are no images available of the Grenadier interior but we can expect it to be functional in design, with drain plugs and the use of ‘hose-it-out’ materials. Chunky rubber will likely feature inside and leather will only be used as a durable and functional requirement. Cabin ergonomics are expected to be greatly improved over the original Defender, too. To be fair, it would need to be.
A whole series of aftermarket options are under consideration to give even greater customisation to the model, including removable body panels (such as those window panels above the front cabin in the pictures).
Production and markets
Around 25,000 units a year is the ultimate production goal for INEOS Automotive, across its various derivatives, and the company believes it can be profitable at that level despite Land Rover not having a business case for the previous Defender which was just below those levels.
The Grenadier has been designed to be a working tool with real credibility in markets such as Africa and Australia, and for use by NGOs (non-governmental organisations). It has been developed with easy maintenance in mind, and to work on lower quality fuels that it might encounter in more remote places.
The company is expected to sell its models direct to end-users where it can, as with its global spread of sales across multiple variants, the actual amount of each model sold in each market will be quite small. INEOS Automotive initially plans a launch the Grenadier in Europe, with other global markets such as Africa and Australia, to follow shortly after.
Availability in the USA is further away due to the different regulatory requirements, while a Chinese launch is not being committed too for now due to the challenges of entering the market. In the future, INEOS Automotive is not ruling out other vehicles or vans, but the long-term focus is on getting the Grenadier and each of its derivatives launched successfully around the world.
Here’s what we know so far about the Grenadier 4×4…
Pricing is expected to be in the region of £34,000. Production to commence late 2021.
The vehicle will ride on a steel ladder frame chassis with aluminium body panels.
Solid coil-sprung front and rear axles with diff-lock will feature along with permanent all-wheel drive.
Engineering firm Magna Steyr (responsible for producing the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, Jaguar I-Pace and Toyota GR Supra) are assisting in bringing the Grenadier 4×4 to series production.
The rugged 4×4 will be powered by BMW’s latest 3.0-litre straight-six petrol and diesel engines, both paired to a ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission. Manual transmissions are unlikely.
It has a one-tonne / Europallet payload and 3.5 tonnes towing capacity.
With an eye on EU7 emissions regulations, all-electric models are expected to follow and fuel cell technology is under consideration.
There is a sub-assembly facility that will produce chassis and body components in Estarreja, Portugal, employing around 200 workers.
An all-new manufacturing facility broke ground in the autumn of 2019 in Bridgend, Wales. It will create an initial 200 jobs, peaking at around 500 on-site employees.