Rugged, off-road-oriented SUVs like the Ford Bronco, Jeep Wrangler, and Land Rover Defender may soon face competition from a formidable contender developed by the newly minted automotive arm of British chemical giant Ineos.
That contender is the Grenadier, a boxy, go-anywhere SUV modeled after the previous-generation Land Rover Defender, and in production at a plant in France since the summer. The vehicle starts deliveries in Europe and other markets in the fourth quarter of the year, and Ineos is in the process of establishing a U.S. dealer network.
From the onset of the vehicle's development, Ineos has insisted the U.S. market is part of the plan, and last summer the company hired Greg Clark, a former marketing executive at both Jaguar Land Rover and Mercedes-Benz, to help launch local sales.
In an interview with Automotive News (subscription required) published last week, Clark said Ineos already has 5,000 reservations for the Grenadier from U.S. residents, and that the company was in the process of signing up dealerships to convert those reservations to sales. He said Ineos doesn't want to go with a direct sales model like many rival startups, but rather the more traditional dealership model.
2022 Ineos Grenadier
Clark told Automotive News Ineos plans to have around 35 dealerships across the U.S. and Canada, and that a number of BMW dealerships and European import dealerships have expressed interest. Many of the Grenadier's mechanicals are common to modern BMWs, including the powertrain and transmission.
Clark has previously said the Grenadier could start U.S. sales before 2023 is out, and that to keep things simple the company plans just one powertrain for this market, a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6. In the Grenadier, the engine is mated to an 8-speed automatic and a four-wheel-drive system with a 2-speed transfer case. A diesel is offered in other markets.
There's no word on pricing but rumors point to a base sticker of around $75,000. Pricing in Europe starts at 68,990 euros (approximately $69,800).