When the Land Rover Defender was introduced in 1948, it became one of the most popular off-road vehicles of all time. Production lasted up until 2016, but one billionaire is hoping to bring it back, new and improved. Owner of chemical company Ineos, Jim Ratcliffe, plans to launch Britain’s biggest independent car company, with the successor to the Land Rover Defender being at the forefront.
Ratcliffe is a fan of the Land Rover Defender and he plans to create a “rugged offroader, which is unbreakable, can go anywhere and doesn’t have the reliability problems of the Defender.” The new car has yet to be named but it has a working title of Projekt Grenadier.
The nickname stuck after the idea was formed in the Grenadier pub located in London. Ratcliffe and his colleagues were discussing the demise of the Land Rover Defender when they started to find inspiration. The ‘k’ in Projekt represents the German nationality of Ineos Automotive CEO Dirk Heilmann.
Although Jaguar Land Rover have claimed they are going to produce a new version, Ratcliffe doesn’t believe they’ll be able to do it in two years time. According to him “we are going to produce something they are not. Theirs will be more high volume and not what the Defender used to be.”
With the launch of their website, Ineos want to create a dialogue between 4×4 enthusiasts. It features the story of how the project came to life, a history of 4x4s and how to get involved. They want the public to give their opinion and shape the development of the car. They are giving you the opportunity to name the car, with such monikers as ‘The Renegade’ or ‘The Neo.’
Ineos is getting closer to designing the car and hopes to have the first one rolled off the production line by 2020. A team of 200 engineers is being assembled and Ratcliffe hopes to create 10,000 jobs in the production plant.
Ratcliffe dismissed concerns that Ineos has no experience in car design, but has conceded that Brexit may affect production in the UK. “There will be a common sense outcome to Brexit. Big commercial organisations in countries such as Germany are not going to be cut off from such a big market – they will not allow politicians to get overly emotional about it.”
What do you think of the idea of a new Land Rover Defender? Do you believe Ineos will create it before Jaguar does?