At a time when Land Rover has just rolled out an all new ‘modern’ Defender, a bunch of likely lads is intent on channelling the spirit of the original in a totally new 4×4 that will be named Grenadier.
The idea, backed by the Ineos Group, is to build a no frills, utilitrian-style off roader, designed for serious work and play, to fill a perceived void in the market.
It’s the brain child of adventurer and car enthusiast Jim Ratcliffe and is named after the pub where the idea was cooked up over a few pints.
Are they serious?
Well, Ineos certainly is, with more than 22,000 people employed across 183 sites in 26 countries — the company has interests in manufacturing, chemicals, sport and now, with the impending launch of Grenadier — in automotive.
Ineos has confirmed the Grenadier will be built in a bespoke new manufacturing facility on a greenfield site in Bridgend, South Wales, keeping it a British production — mostly.
This will create 200 jobs initially, and up to 500 in the long term, with site development under way and production planned to start in 2021.
Ratcliffe said they had looked long and hard across the world at possible manufacturing locations for Grenadier.
“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,” he said.
The company is however also investing in another plant in Portugal where the body and chassis will be produced, working in conjunction with European supply chain partners.
Wrapped in a stripped back, boxy 4×4 body, Grenadier will be built on a traditional ladder chassis, with permanent four-wheel drive, beam axles and class-leading towing and payload capacity.
Motivation will come from turbocharged BMW engines.
The latest generation diesel and petrol six-cylinder BMW TwinPower Turbo units will be mapped specifically to deliver power and torque in every situation.
The finished product is expected to be offered in a variety of markets including Australia.
Oh, almost forgot . . . more than 6000 international fans and followers participated in an online poll to select the name.
CHECKOUT: Nah, that’s not the Defender — is it?
CHECKOUT: Defender hangs up its ladder?