Tuesday 8 December 2020 3:58 pm

Sir Jim Ratcliffe's Ineos confirms new 4x4 will be built in France

Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s Ineos today confirmed that it would build its new 4×4 car in France, putting an end to hopes that it would do so in Wales.

Back in August it was revealed that the petrochemicals company was in talks to buy a factory at Hambach from Mercedes-Benz.

Read more: Ineos inks deal with Hyundai for hydrogen-powered Grenadier 4×4

The Hambach site currently manufactures smart cars, which Ineos will continue to publish alongside its Grenadier model.

Production of the car, Ineos’ first foray into the automotive market, will begin in late 2021. The first cars are expected to be ready for delivery in 2022.

Ratcliffe said: “Hambach presented us with a unique opportunity that we simply could not ignore: to buy a modern automotive manufacturing facility with a world-class workforce.

“Ineos Automotive set out a vision to build the world’s best utilitarian 4×4, and at our new home in Hambach, we will do just that.”

Before the Open newsletter: Start your day with the City View podcast and key market data

Last year it was reported that Ratcliffe’s firm has been in negotiations with the Welsh government to build a factory to make the car in Bridgend.

It was hoped that the factory would supply jobs for around 500 people, with Ford due to shut down its plant in the town.

But any residual hopes that Ineos’ factory could still be sited in Wales were brushed away by today’s announcement.

Combined with existing operations at Hambach, Ineos will employ 1,300 workers at the French site.

Dirk Heilmann, chief executive officer of Ineos Automotive, commented: “This acquisition marks our biggest milestone yet in the development of the Grenadier. 

Read more: Ineos launches clean hydrogen business in green drive

“Alongside the exhaustive testing programme that our prototype vehicles are now undergoing, we can now begin preparations at Hambach to build our 4×4 from late next year for delivery to our customers around the globe.”