Currently reading: Confirmed: Ineos in talks with Daimler to build Grenadier at Smart factory
Ineos could shun Wales and Portugal and use plant in Hambach, France, to become the manufacturing base for the new Grenadier
Steve Cropley Autocar
News
3 mins read
7 July 2020

Britain's newest car manufacturer, Ineos Automotive, has confirmed that it is negotiating with Daimler to take over the Smart factory at Hambach, eastern France, as a manufacturing base for its new Grenadier range of 4x4 vehicles.

The factory would be a replacement for both its proposed chassis manufacturing plant in Portugal and its final assembly plant in Bridgend, Wales.

In a statement released this morning, Ineos says it is "reviewing its manufacturing strategy for the new Grenadier in light of the Covid-19 pandemic – which has led to some delays in our development plans, but has also presented some new opportunities in terms of existing manufacturing capacity that were not previously available to us. 

Specifically, Ineos Automotive has entered detailed discussions with Mercedes-Benz on the acquisition of its Hambach site in Moselle, France. We have therefore suspended the post-lockdown resumption of work at our sites in Wales and Portugal pending the outcome of this review. Further updates will follow in the coming weeks.

It is understood that the possibility of doing a deal only arose over the past few days and a major attraction is the fact that Daimler has equipped the Hambach plant fairly recently to build a larger SUV model, alongside the Smart two-seat city cars that have always been its main output. This would suit the Grenadier manufacturing process, meaning the Hambach deal is the one most likely to be concluded.

Ineos cites significant overcapacity in the automotive production sector, made clearer during the pandemic, as being the main factor for the decision. 

Ineos Automotive CEO, Dirk Heilmann, elaborated: “Of course we considered this route previously, but as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic some new options such as this one with the plant in Hambach have opened up that were simply not available to us previously. We are therefore having another look – and reviewing whether the addition of two new manufacturing facilities is the right thing to do in the current environment.”

Covid has had an impact on our build schedules,” added Heilmann, “with ground clearing works and construction held up by the social distancing measures that have been required. Safety is of course paramount, but we also have an obligation to do what is right for the business – and so need to assess these new opportunities in order to maintain or improve on our timelines.” 

Last week the first minister for Wales told BBC News that his team “remain in discussion with the company” over bringing the Grenadier manufacturing site to Bridgend, creating up to 500 jobs. However, there had been no formal announcement at that point, despite Ineos confirming last year its intention to base the 4x4’s finishing plant near the site of the soon-to-close Ford engine plant in Bridgend, going as far as rendering the finished building. 

Advertisement
Advertisement

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

Back to top

Join the debate

Comments
41

7 July 2020

With Ineos being a main sponsor/partner of the Mercedes F1 team, this may seem a convenient but very welcome opportunity for Ineos to acquire an almost ready made production site. As for the F1 link, if Mercedes did exit F1 after 2021 I wouldn't be at all suprised if Ineos acquired the team, now having an auotmotive division, while also having a presence in some other sports too, notably in cycling.

7 July 2020

WOW.  I think this is all reaching a little bit.  Lawrence Stroll would probably disagree.  And what about their deal with BMW for powertrain and Magna for chassis design and production, wonder when they will drop those deals.

7 July 2020
Lanehogger wrote:

With Ineos being a main sponsor/partner of the Mercedes F1 team, this may seem a convenient but very welcome opportunity for Ineos to acquire an almost ready made production site. As for the F1 link, if Mercedes did exit F1 after 2021 I wouldn't be at all suprised if Ineos acquired the team, now having an auotmotive division, while also having a presence in some other sports too, notably in cycling.

A bit ambitious for them to buy a factory which could produce up to half a million units considering that they are starting from scratch with a model and brand unknown to 99.9999% of the world population. They will struggle to keep the factory running at some 20000 units. Should have built a small site with land nearby to expand IF they are successful.

Daimler on the other hand with sell for a £1 purely because they will be save the cost of paying redundancies if they couldn't find a taker.

7 July 2020

If you long for the old Defender.... it's cheaper and way more original to get yourself one, instead of the Ineos version. Time will tell. Caterham builds Lotus Sevens. So Ratcliffe might be on to something.

7 July 2020
voyager12 wrote:

If you long for the old Defender.... it's cheaper and way more original to get yourself one, instead of the Ineos version. Time will tell. Caterham builds Lotus Sevens. So Ratcliffe might be on to something.

But Caterham bought the rights, Ineos copied the Defender without permission, there will be another court case, cant see Ineos winning, theyll have to redesign it.

7 July 2020

And it is funny how they are referred to as a Britsh carmaker, the Grenedier was designed in Austria using German powertrain and now with no plants to produce anything in the UK.  Maybe the headlines should revise this to say "Iconic British vehicle design ripped off/copied by European auto maker".

7 July 2020

Except that Caterham acquired the rights to the Lotus Seven whereas Inoes were rejected by JLR and still went ahead and replicated it anyway.  Trade Mark infrigement?

7 July 2020
smithopinion@yahoo.ca wrote:

Except that Caterham acquired the rights to the Lotus Seven whereas Inoes were rejected by JLR and still went ahead and replicated it anyway.  Trade Mark infrigement?

 

Except the Grenadier doesn't share single measurement, panel or component with the Defender. Besides, JLR already lost their attempt to trademark the shape - which they attempted, rather cynically, only after they'd brought production to a close after 68 years...  

10 July 2020
pablovski123]</p><p>[quote=smithopinion@yahoo.ca wrote:

Except the Grenadier doesn't share single measurement, panel or component with the Defender. Besides, JLR already lost their attempt to trademark the shape - which they attempted, rather cynically, only after they'd brought production to a close after 68 years...  

You clearly do not know much about IP Law, it matter not a jot if it is half an inch bigger smaller or longer, the fact is, that ineos is a direct copy of the Landie, i have shown pics of it to non motoring friends and they ALL thought it to be a Land Rover, the fact that JLR were asked if he could do it and then did it anyway, lands him right in the poo.I suspect that he knows if the case was brought in the UK, by having a plant here, to ASSEMBLE the European made car, he would lose hands down, but now we will be out of the EU, taking him to court in france would be a 50/50 and for this moron, it is worth the punt.Even though he will have screwed over the Welsh Government, after they had spent a vast sum on preparing the site ready for him to go ahead with the UK plant, he made agreements, he stated this time and time and time again, this thing is NOT Iconic, you can not have an Icon when it does not exist, it takes years of hard work and expertise in what ever field to become an Icon.... this wil be another start up that fails. and Good.

7 July 2020

a leading brexiter wanting an EU base to avoid tariffs...

Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week