Car maker BMW has been tasked with supplying the engines for an upcoming rival to the Land Rover Defender built by chemicals giant Ineos.
The so-called Project Grenadier will see Ineos, which is owned by Britain’s richest man Jim Ratcliffe, release a four-by-four range onto the market in mid-2021, commercial director Mark Tennant told City A.M.
Tennant said the model was not a vanity project for Ratcliffe, and that the vehicle was to be “fit for purpose” and “utilitarian”, but also had to “look good”.
“Jim’s passionate about it as we all are,” he added.
Landing the collaboration with automotive giant BMW is likely to be seen as something of a coup for Ineos, for which this is its first foray into the world of car manufacturing.
The offroad model is hoped to support “a varied mix of customers around the world, from Africa to Australasia, Europe to the US”. Tennant added it would fill a gap in the “homogenised” four-by-four market.
Dirk Heilmann, CEO of INEOS Automotive, said BMW’s reputation as an engine maker “is second to none. Simply put, it builds the best engines in the world”.
Ratcliffe announced plans in July 2016 to produce a car "in the spirit of" the Land Rover Defender after Jaguar Land Rover stopped producing it because the model could not keep up with low emissions rules.
Speculation has since gathered over where the production site will be based. Ineos remains in negotiations to determine the most suitable location for the vehicle’s production.
Production of the Defender-style vehicle is expected to begin in 2020.