One of the biggest chemical companies in the world, with absolutely no history in vehicle manufacturing, is aiming to build a traditional off-road workhorse similar to the iconic Land Rover Defender.
On the face of it, you might be tempted to swat away the plans of Ineos as a publicity stunt, but the company is keen to stress its plans are sincere and credible.
Owner Jim Ratcliffe is a huge admirer of the Defender, and the orders came down from him to start work on a model that pays homage to the off-roader following the end of its production last year.
Ratcliffe spotted a gap in the market, and his love for the Defender made him want to replace it. He and his company saw creating such a car as a business venture worth pursuing.
“It’s definitely not a publicity stunt,” Ineos director Tom Crotty assured me. “It’s a serious project. We are approaching it from the point of view of enthusiasts.”
But the nature of an undertaking like this – particularly for a novice in the car industry that will have to invest millions of pounds to make it happen – is inherently risky. So, was there any opposition from within the company regarding Ratcliffe’s outlandish plans?