Jim Ratcliffe, the billionaire chemical mogul turned car entrepreneur, unveiled the design of his planned Grenadier offroader that will compete with Land Rover’s iconic Defender model.
Prototypes of the vehicle, designed as a rugged go-anywhere workhorse, will notch up more than 1 million miles over the next year of testing, Ineos Automotive, part of Ratcliffe’s Ineos Group chemical empire, said in a statement on Wednesday.
Ratcliffe, the U.K.’s richest man with a $20 billion fortune, is betting that the back-to-basics Grenadier will appeal to a swathe of farmers and other drivers who miss generations of the Defender. Jaguar Land Rover unveiled a smartened up version of the 70-year-old 4×4 in September after stricter emission and safety standards consigned the much loved car to the history books.
Ineos has previously said that it was investing 600 million pounds ($745 million) in the project. It plans to assemble the Grenadier at a new factory in Bridgend, Wales, close to a Ford Motor Co. engine plant earmarked for closure. The first sales are forecast for 2022.
Ratcliffe devised the new car after failing in a bid to bring back the original Defender when JLR decided to end production in 2016. Powered by gasoline and diesel engines made by BMW AG, the Grenadier is named after the public house in London where Ratcliffe said the idea for his own version of the offroader was hashed out.
Ineos hasn’t revealed the price of the vehicle.
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