The modern-day version of the original Land Rover Defender – the Ineos Grenadier – has changed its manufacturing plans, but is still on target for its global debut in early 2022.
Ineos Automotive has finalised its acquisition of Daimler's 'Smartville' production facility in France, for building the upcoming Grenadier off-roader.
This important milestone for the new automotive brand, who says they are on track for production starting in late 2021 and delivering Grenadiers to customers in early 2022.
Australia has been confirmed as an important market for the new Grenadier, however it's unclear when in 2022 (or later) it will arrive on Australian shores.
Still under development, Ineos has said that pre-production Grenadiers will be coming to Australia for real-world testing, along with New Zealand, America and Africa.
Using the now-discontinued original Land Rover Defender as inspiration (along with other classics like the Toyota LandCruiser, Suzuki Sierra and Mercedes G-Class), the Grenadier uses time-honoured off-road mechanical components like live axles, coil springs and panhard rods mounted to a steel ladder chassis.
Locking differentials will be available, and Ineos says the Grenadier will be at least as good as the best in class for axle articulation.
While things like independent suspension setups on monocoque and unibody chassis designs can improve on-road comfort and handling, Ineos promises the Grenadier to be a tough, capable and durable off-roader with easy maintenance and serviceability.
Some specific details of the new Grenadier has been revealed, including BMW-sourced three-litre petrol and diesel engines, ZF eight-speed automatic gearboxes, and Bridgestone all-terrain tyres mounted on steel wheels.
Ineos has also recently teamed up with Hyundai, intending to bring hydrogen power to the Grenadier in the future.
While Ineos originally earmarked building a brand-new facility in Wales for the Grenadier, they have instead chosen to take over an exisiting facility located in north-eastern France, not far from the German border.
As part of the arrangement with Daimler, Ineos will continue to build the Smart EQ ForTwo electric city car for European markets, along with some components for Mercedes-Benz.
This equates to roughly 1300 jobs at the Hambach facility, including commitments to onsite suppliers.