For some time now, as we awaited the reveal of the new Land Rover Defender, we knew that something similar was cooking that sounded even more deeply grounded in the Defender tradition: the Ineos Projekt Grenadier. We've gotten a peek at its rugged frame, and earlier today we got a freshly teased image. Now it has been revealed in all its boxy, stoic British glory, with Ineos providing the truck with this no-nonsense portfolio: It's "a vehicle to do a job."
The vision of Ineos Group chairman and British adventurer Sir Jim Ratcliffe — who famously and unsuccessfully tried to buy the tooling for the old Defender from JLR — the Grenadier is clearly not intended to be co-opted by soccer moms, like all the Rovers and G-Wagens out there. There will be no coddling in the ranks of the Grenadiers. It's designed to be simple, durable and stripped down, capable of thriving in the harshest corners of the planet.
When the world learned that the new Defender would be unibody, Ratcliffe read the room and decided that's not what he nor others wanted. Though he was running a massive chemical company, he decided to get into the automotive game, with the help of engineering partner Magna Steyr. Together, "best in class" capabilities are their stated goal.
And the harshest corners of Earth are exactly where the Grenadier will undergo testing, racking up some 1.8 million kilometers of hard knocks in the months to come, Ineos promises.
What we have here today is simply the reveal of its Grenadier's rugged exterior. And to the surprise of no one, it's a slavishly devoted homage to the original Defender, from grille to rear doors, and from clerestory windows to knobby tires. You can get a closer look at the Grenadier's website.
“The brief was simple. We set out to design a modern, functional and highly capable 4x4 vehicle with utility at its core,” said Toby Ecuyer, the Grenadier's head designer. “A design that is ‘easy-to-read,’ with no ambiguity about the Grenadier’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: “We are delighted to be able to share the design of the Grenadier so early in the process. Most manufacturers would hold back, but we are a new business, building a new brand, and we want to take people with us on this exciting journey."
In other words, the testing will be in plain sight, with no camo, and with the hopes of building a devoted following that roots for the truck as it's put through its paces.
The INEOS Grenadier will go into production in late 2021.
Ratcliffe, the Ineos chairman, 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 4x4 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.”
At first glance, and if the truck it's modeled on is any guide, it appears they succeeded. What do you think?