Currently reading: Why van versions of the Ineos Grenadier help with CO2 rules
By offering a commercial variant from the off, Ineos has boxed clever with EU and UK emissions regs

Launching a car company without an electric vehicle these days is nigh on impossible, given the tight rules surrounding average CO2 emissions in the UK and European Union, but that’s exactly what Ineos Automotive hopes to do when it begins deliveries of the Grenadier off-roader in July/August. But how?

The answer: study the rules extremely carefully and exploit the grey area between cars and commercial vehicles.

The Grenadier had a controversial birth when Ineos CEO Sir Jim Ratcliffe tried to buy the original Land Rover Defender tooling to allow him to carry on building a model that Land Rover dropped in 2016.

When Land Rover rebuffed him, the Grenadier was born as a sort of tribute act to replicate the Defender’s rugged simplicity but with the flaws ironed out. Land Rover argued the design breached its copyright, but Ineos prevailed.

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Ineos has yet to reveal the exact CO2 figures for the Grenadier, but with power coming from a BMW straight-six engine, either petrol or diesel, the number is going to be high, especially given the car’s blocky shape.

Both the EU and the UK, which carried over EU rules, require an average CO2 figure of 95g/km of all cars sold, with a few grams leeway given to brands with heavier vehicles.

Mainstream car makers bring that average down by selling electric cars or plug-in hybrids, or pooling with those makers that do, but Ineos has said a proposed hydrogen fuel cell car won’t be launched until 2027 at the earliest.

There are, however, special dispensations offered to low-volume manufacturers and even more if those manufacturers are making vans. This is where Ineos boxed clever.

The Grenadier is initially available as a five-seat car, but also as two commercial variants: one a two-seater, the other a five-seater.

A longer double-cab pick-up is also on the way next year (with a wheelbase length of 127in, close to the 130in that gave the old Defender 130 double-cab pick-up its name).

The EU says low-volume manufacturers can sell up to 10,000 cars in a given year, as well as 22,000 vans.

The company still has to keep targets to reduce CO2 levels over a period of time, but those are bespoke and agreed with the EU. (Ineos hasn’t revealed what its targets are.)


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Car review

It may have the reassuring look of an experienced off-roader, but the Grenadier is an entirely new car from a company that has never built one before

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Meanwhile, the UK has similar rules to reduce numbers, and Ineos is allowed to sell 6000 vehicles, of which 1700 can be cars and 4300 ‘N1’ classification commercials.

These aren’t big numbers but they're big enough for Ineos, whose factory in Hambach, north-east France (bought from Daimler) has a capacity of 33,000 annually, rising to 50,000 building around the clock on three shifts.

The van classification works to the advantage of both Ineos and customers, many of whom will be self-employed business people looking for a vehicle to span the twin ‘tool and toy’ functions. “It fulfils both ends of that spectrum,” Donna Falconer, head of product at Ineos Automotive, said.

Currently, the double-cab pick-up captures a lot of that market and is tax efficient for the self-employed, who can reclaim the VAT.

The loophole in the UK means the country is now by far the largest market for pick-ups in Europe, led by the Ford Ranger.

Ineos has gone one step further and offered a vehicle that keeps its N1 classification, has five seats and keeps the rear windows, meaning it outwardly looks like the car. (You can delete the rearmost side windows for security.)

This won’t be the first vehicle to do that.

Suzuki recently stopped selling its Jimny off-roader and replaced it with a two-seat van version to have less impact on its CO2 figures.

Van versions of cars are prevalent on the Continent as car makers look to exploit loopholes in specific markets. But this is possibly the first car that has been designed specifically with the van rules in mind.

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Add a comment…
mb106429 23 February 2022
I bet this is a great vehicle, better than the botched up Land Rover Defenders with their warped front discs, crap engines like 300tdi and bad ancillaries.

The latest Puma engines were awful and thirsty also, the've got loads of other poor engines like their V6 that break crankshafts.

Will be good to see a proper 4x4 being sold with a proper straight 6 engine, I hope they do a straight 5 too

It will be good to see Ineos introduce proper Watt's link suspension instead of the LR A frame thing.

Glad there's going to be a tough chassis motor on the roads again

macboy 17 February 2022

Wow a business plan in Europe based on cheating emissions rules in the "Grey Area" between cars and commercials. INEOS management showing its moral leadership once again...but then again they have shamelessly used the design and heritage of Land Rover's Defender for the car so that shouldn't really be a shock.

The only real shock is that the media - Autocar especially - haven't stood up and called it out. If this were a Land Wind it would go into the long list of shameless Chinese knock-offs. But as it's a British billionaire with a good PR team it's to be applauded. We're confused by the double standard.

Deputy 16 February 2022

Just how much does Ineos pay Autocar?  This article celebrate Ineos for bending the rules, same as VW did!!  I really wanted to admire Ineos but the more I read the more I feel it's a tax dodge run by some old dinosaurs.  Looks at the accounts, it's already lost £243 MILLION ! Allowing for £5K profit (?) per vehicle that's nearly 50,000 sales to just to break even so far.

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