Decades of Land Rover Defender production finally came to a close in early 2016.
While Land Rover has confirmed a successor is coming soon, there are concerns this modern Defender won’t quite the match the original’s rugged, no-nonsense design and ability to master everything from muddy roads to river crossings to mountain climbs.
One group, led by British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe, is so concerned that it’s attempting to build its own spiritual successor to the Defender. On Tuesday, the project was given a name: Projekt Grenadier.
Ratcliffe is the chairman and founder of British chemicals giant Ineos which has a new division, Ineos Automotive, set up to develop the Projekt Grenadier. The goal is to build a Defender-like vehicle that could be marketed to mining explorers, forestry workers, farmers and off-road enthusiasts.
There will be improvements, of course. Ineos wants its vehicle to overcome the Defender’s shortcomings such as poor reliability as well as outdated emissions and safety standards. The target for reliability is the Toyota Land Cruiser. Ineos also wants its vehicle to be as simple as possible so if something did go wrong repairs could be handled in the field.
If all goes to plan, Ineos hopes to start production in the United Kingdom around 2019 and make the first deliveries the following year. The company is hoping to build between 15,000 and 20,000 units annually, and best of all there are plans to market the vehicle worldwide. It’s too early to talk pricing but Ineos has previously hinted at a starting price of less than $65,000.
Note, Projekt Grenadier is only a code name for the vehicle. Ineos is taking suggestions for a name from the public. You can register your own suggestion at the website www.projektgrenadier.com.