Jim Ratcliffe's Ineos close to choosing location for successor to Land Rover Defender

Alexandra Rogers
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Jim Ratcliffe said he would like the project to be built in the UK (Source: Getty)

Jim Ratcliffe's Ineos is reportedly close to choosing the host location of his new "spiritual successor" to the Land Rover Defender.

The Times reported that the billionaire chemicals tycoon is deciding on where to build his new £700m project, with the UK, Germany, France and Belgium in the running.

Speculation has been mounting as to the possible location of the Defender successor, with Ratcliffe saying late last year that "ideally we would like to build it in the UK" but that Ineos would want government support.

Any announcement is highly anticipated, especially given Unilever's decision to move its headquarters to Rotterdam earlier this week, which was interpreted as response to Brexit, although this was denied by the firm.

Ineos has been mulling three options, including a spot on the coast in the northeast of the UK. However, it is vying with mothballed plants offered on the continent, which could be a cheaper option, and idled production lines at European plants.

The billionaire is planning to build a Land Rover Defender-inspired SUV in what it's calling Projekt Grenadier, MBtech, a subsidiary of Mercedes-Benz, will become Ineos Automotive's engineering partner on Projekt Grenadier - the development of an "uncompromising 4x4" - and oversee all developments of the new vehicle.​

Mbtech was founded in 1995 as Mercedes-Benz Technologies and works with a range of auto giants outside of its parent firm, including Porsche and BMW.

Read more: Unilever is moving its HQ out of London as it picks the Netherlands instead

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