BMW to supply petrol and diesel engines for back to basics 4x4, the first official details of which have been confirmed by the company for the first time
Mark Tisshaw
18 March 2019

Ineos Automotive has confirmed its Projekt Grenadier will use BMW-sourced petrol and diesel engines in the first of a series of upcoming announcements around its upcoming hardcore 4x4.

The new model, created by the Ineos chemical company owned by Britain’s richest man Jim Ratcliffe, will be revealed in 2020 before going on sale in mid-2021, the company has confirmed to Autocar.

A whole host of different variants, bodystyles and wheelbase lengths of the new model are planned, as part of its brief to fill the void of the original Land Rover Defender as a back to basics 4x4 that’s a spiritual successor to that car.

Around 25,000 units a year for the company is the ultimate production goal across its various derivatives, and Ineos believes it can be profitable at that level despite Land Rover not having a business case for the previous Defender which was just below those levels. Mark Tennant, Projekt Grenadier commercial director, said this was no vanity project for Ratcliffe, and that the project would be judged internally against the same profitability criteria as Ineos’s other businesses.

After the BMW powertrains, the exact specification of which are yet to be revealed, the next announcement is set to be around where the model will be manufactured, with a desire for the model to be built in Britain. Ineos isn’t ruling out using an existing site to build Projekt Grenadier, although Honda’s Swindon plant is considered too large and Ford’s Bridgend plant is not geared up for car production. It is ensuring it plant has greater capacity should its 25,000 sales target be exceeded, said Tennant.

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Projekt Grenadier, the production name for which is due to be revealed this summer after a public competition to name it ends, will be built on an Ineos-designed and built steel ladder frame chassis, with aluminium body panels. Solid live front and rear axles will feature along with permanent all-wheel drive to help give the car its target of best in class off-road performance, while remaining as light as it can be and retaining credible on-road performance. 

The engineering of the car has been outsourced to German engineering firm MBtech. Around 150-200 MBtech engineers are working full-time on it, with another 40-50 Ineos engineers embedded in the project. One mule has been built and has been testing around the Austrian Alps since last June. 

Ineos will work with partners, including BMW, on some areas of the project, but will design, develop and build for itself in other areas, including with the chassis as there is not an off-the-shelf ladder frame that can meet the project’s requirements. Ineos also plans to build the manufacturer the car itself rather than use a contract manufacturing company, including developing its own tooling. 

While the project may have been born out of a desire to fill Land Rover’s void, the project has evolved into a significant entity in its own right. The brief has evolved to trying to do what the original US Army Ordnance Spec Jeep could, in being tough off road and easy to repair. Rivals such as the Toyota Hilux and Jeep Wrangler are mentioned by Ineos, which hints at both the kinds of bodystyles it will offer and its pricing is likely to be in the high £30,000s to low £40,000s as a starting point.

Ratcliffe, an engineer by trade, has stated that the car must be capable and durable, with a good design, while remaining affordable. 

As for its powertrains, Projekt Grenadier will not use electrified technology at first, but does have its eye on future EU7 emissions regulations. It will not use plug-in hybrid technology due to the unnecessary weight it adds, but is watching closely the development of fuel cells in particular. A diesel is still considered crucial in Europe initially as that’s where the market remains for such vehicles. An automatic transmission is likely due to its greater robustness but not yet confirmed. 

Styling wise, Tennant said that it would “not be on trend as another jelly mould crossover SUV” and Ineos would “move away from the homogenised vehicles that ultimately give less choice”. The very nature of its narrow width, short wheelbase, wheel at each corner and flat glass design mean it will be a boxy 4x4 with real off-road purpose, but Ineos is still working hard on giving it a design character of its own with a face and lighting signature.

“It won’t be an alternative to an SUV, it’s putting the utility back into that,” said Tennant. He said it would be built for purpose with everything functional, and was designed to be a working tool with real credibility in markets such as Africa and Australia, and for use by non-government organisations. It would be designed with easy maintenance in mind, and to work on lower quality fuels that it might encounter in more remote places.  

The interior will also be functional in its design, with drain plugs and hose down materials. Chunky rubber will feature inside, and leather will only be used if it’s the most durable and functional material. Cabin ergonomics will be greatly improved over the original Defender, too. 

A whole series of aftermarket options are under consideration to give even greater customisation to the model, including removable body panels. The business model will be similar to FCA’s Mopar in this regard.

A full-size clay model exists and is currently being honed and finalised before being imminently signed off. Ineos has worked with an outside design company in Stuttgart on the look of Projekt Grenadier but has also consulted with a big-name major car designer, too. 

The company will sell its models direct where it can, as with its global spread of sales across multiple variants, the actual amount of each model sold in each market will be quite small. Initially, Ineos plans a launch in Europe for its first new model, with other ‘rest of world’ markets, the likes of Africa and Australia, to follow. A US launch is further off due to the different regulatory requirements, while a Chinese launch is not being committed too for now due to the challenges of entering the market.

In the future, Tennant is not ruling out other cars or vans from Ineos, but the long-term focus would be on getting the Projekt Grenadier and its derivative each launched successfully around the world.

Read more

Ineos considers Bridgend factory for new SUV

Ineos vs Land Rover takes to the high seas

Ineos Grenadier: why a chemical firm is creating a 'serious' off-roader

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Comments
17

18 March 2019

Truly, this article is really one of the very best in the history of articles. I am an antique ’Article’ collector and I sometimes read some new bing ads coupon codes articles if I find them interesting. And I found this one pretty interesting and it should go into my collection. Very good work!

18 March 2019

Back to basics 4x4 costing £40k isn't a basic price, it'll probably end up nearer to £45k as well.

A BMW engine isn't the best choice for central Afica due to it's complexity/price and not being the most reliable of brands (Toyota is the choice of the terrorist).  I'll be amazed to see a one on the road in 2021,  they're not even sure where it's going to be built yet, factories that can churn out 25,000 cars a year take time to plan let alone equip.

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

18 March 2019

Range Rovers in the US have a poor reliability reputation because of the BMW engine they used!   Yes, German engineering where you need it least.

 

But I thought they were for using Mercedes tech in this project?

 

This would actually be a very easy project to do if someone had the brains to talk with Ford or GM and did it on their truck production lines.   Separate chassis is the same technique they're using so the parity is easy.   Then you'd also have access to a drivetrain that's design for off-road, not a BMW engine that struggles in the city never mind when dirty!

 

18 March 2019
Symanski wrote:

Range Rovers in the US have a poor reliability reputation because of the BMW engine they used!   Yes, German engineering where you need it least.

 

But I thought they were for using Mercedes tech in this project?

 

This would actually be a very easy project to do if someone had the brains to talk with Ford or GM and did it on their truck production lines.   Separate chassis is the same technique they're using so the parity is easy.   Then you'd also have access to a drivetrain that's design for off-road, not a BMW engine that struggles in the city never mind when dirty!

 

 

I know you liked slagging off BMW at every opportunity, but Range Rovers have not used BMW engines for well over a decade.

Do keep up at the back there.

18 March 2019
Symanski wrote:

Range Rovers in the US have a poor reliability reputation because of the BMW engine they used!   Yes, German engineering where you need it least.

 

But I thought they were for using Mercedes tech in this project?

 

This would actually be a very easy project to do if someone had the brains to talk with Ford or GM and did it on their truck production lines.   Separate chassis is the same technique they're using so the parity is easy.   Then you'd also have access to a drivetrain that's design for off-road, not a BMW engine that struggles in the city never mind when dirty!

 

 

Your final para is fullsome its denigration of this projekt and therefore of its founder. "EASY" to launch a brand new vehicle AND brand?. As an engineer who has used his intellect in co-operation with his multiple business skills, to build his fortune, he shows all of us what can be done and yet he has not retired, nor rested on his considerable laurels. Perhaps you are correct in that he has not considered ahead of you, just the very points you make in your final para...but I sincerely doubt it.

 

BMW vehicles are used in blue light applications around the world and perhaps they would not be, if your assertions regarding reliability were true...and yet do any of us know the precise versions that BMW will build for them?. You hear of failed engines, but how many failures and from what total production number?. Everything has to be taken in its proper context to be meaningful and if taken out of contxt as you seem to have done, does nothing to advance the cause of the entrepreneur, his giving employment to the area of manufacture and revenues to the treasury. Try to be a little more objective and generous of thought...after all its not your money he is using.

18 March 2019
xxxx wrote:

Back to basics 4x4 costing £40k isn't a basic price, it'll probably end up nearer to £45k as well.

A basic 2 door Jeep Wrangler is over £44k, and thats basically a Fiat... 

18 March 2019
Citytiger wrote:

xxxx wrote:

Back to basics 4x4 costing £40k isn't a basic price, it'll probably end up nearer to £45k as well.

A basic 2 door Jeep Wrangler is over £44k, and thats basically a Fiat... 

Exactly, would Ineons want to replicate sales averaging around 40 a month in 2018 in the UK?

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

18 March 2019

 Just hope it isn’t a rehash of a Landrover....

Peter Cavellini.

18 March 2019

So it will be priced like the New Defender? Hmmm and yet I have a sneaky suspicion that it will the new Defender that appeals most to Farmer types. Believe it or not most people including farmers don’t want something as basic as the original Defender was anymore.

18 March 2019

OMG beam axles front and rear ?!

XXXX just went POP.

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