Ineos Grenadier 4×4 production is finally underway after a few delays, with cars rolling off the factory line and on their way to customers globally from December.
Australian market demonstrators will get here in time for Christmas, with customer cars to start lobbing here from January 2023.
The hardcore SUV designed to fill the Land Rover Defender-shaped void in the market – original model, not new – is being made at an old Daimler plant in Hambach, France.
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Since 2019 the plant has received a claimed $770 million in upgrades, funded by both Mercedes-Benz and Ineos.
“We’ve come a long way since the project kicked off in 2017 and this is a landmark moment for Ineos Automotive as a vehicle manufacturer,” said commercial director Mark Tennant.
“To get to this point is a testament to the resilience and hard work of the entire Ineos Automotive team, our development partners and our suppliers.”
Global supply chain issues “continue to constrain output”, the company adds but says customer deliveries in volume are expected before year’s end.
Australia is a major market for Ineos Automotive, where it sees opportunities to steal sales from the Toyota LandCruiser 70 – orders for which remain paused as its maker clears backlog.
The Australian retail footprint will comprise 29 sites, part of a planned 200-strong global network in 50 countries by the end of 2022. The full list of locations includes a smattering of urban outlets, but is focused heavily on regional areas.
Rather than a traditional franchise model, Ineos will be operating using an agency business model in Australia.
Its dealers have been dubbed “partners” and are responsible for displaying stock, handling test drives, delivering vehicles to customers, and offering after-sales support. Ineos controls inventory and pricing, and pays its partners a “straight-forward commission” for sales.
Ineos APAC region boss, Justin Hocevar, said a strong regional presence signals to “those who live in the large, metropolitan islands on our coast, that when they do travel they’ve got access to the support they need”.
Part of that is also about being able to supply spare parts to owners quickly. The first Ineos global parts warehouse is in Belgium, but the second will be in Melbourne. It’s set to open “very close” to Ineos’ start of sales.
Beyond its own service centres, Ineos says it’s taking an “open source” approach to maintenance. It’s making service manuals and repair information easily accessible, and launching an e-commerce platform that allows independent mechanics to find and buy parts.
It’s taken a similar approach with accessories – a vital part of the 4×4 landscape.
“We have taken quite an open-source approach to engaging with the aftermarket,” Mr Hocevar added. “We’ve gone to the aftermarket shows, we’ve spoken to [manufacturers].”
“Some of them we’re in the early days of exchanging agreements where we can provide them with CAD data, and we’ve agreed to provide them with early access to production [cars] so they can do their development work,” he explained.
“It’s quite opposite to the traditional way of saying ‘well I’m going to wrap my arms around my OEM range of accessories and protect that for as long as possible until the aftermarket reacts one or two years after launch’.
“We’re getting on the front foot before we even start selling,” he said.
What is the Ineos Grenadier?
The Grenadier is the brainchild of Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the British billionaire engineer and chairman of multinational petrochemical giant Ineos. No expense has been spared on his passion project.
The official story says Ratcliffe was hanging out in London’s Grenadier pub in 2017, bemoaning Land Rover’s decision to kill the old Defender and replace it with the more modern and luxurious new SUV model.
Australia is considered internally to be a “core launch market” for the ladder-frame, rigid axle Grenadier alongside Europe, the US and South Africa, meaning locals get the sort of priority access to vehicles many brands would crave.
The bespoke development vehicles were built by Magna in Austria, and underwent a widely covered torture-testing program.
Two body styles are being offered in Australia at launch. The Grenadier Utility Wagon is a two-seater with a full-height crash barrier and flat floor that can handle a standard 1200mm x 800mm Euro pallet. The Station Wagon is a five-seater.
Power comes from two 3.0-litre inline-six cylinder engines sourced from BMW. The petrol makes 210kW of power and 450Nm of torque, while the diesel makes 183kW and 550Nm.
Both engines come mated to a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission (codenamed 8HP51 for the petrol, 8HP76 for the diesel), with what Ineos calls a new “heavy duty” torque converter.
All Grenadiers come standard with permanent four-wheel drive (4WD), with low-range accessed through a 2.5:1 Tremec two-speed transfer case.
Matching the class-leaders, the Grenadier will also have a 3.5-tonne braked towing capacity.
Ground clearance is listed as 264mm, wading depth 800mm, approach angle 36.3 degrees, break over 28.2 degrees, and departure angle 36.1 degrees. Powder-coated skid plates and a fuel-tank plate are standard.
Grenadier Utility Wagon (two-seat)
- 2023 Ineos Grenadier Base petrol and diesel: $84,500
- 2023 Ineos Grenadier Trailmaster petrol and diesel: $95,495
- 2023 Ineos Grenadier Fieldmaster petrol and diesel: $95,495
Grenadier Station Wagon (five-seat)
- 2023 Ineos Grenadier Base petrol and diesel: $85,500
- 2023 Ineos Grenadier Trailmaster petrol and diesel: $96,495
- 2023 Ineos Grenadier Fieldmaster petrol and diesel: $96,495
All prices exclude on-road costs.
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