Patience has its virtues.
After the original Land Rover Defender was retired in 2012, it took a few years for its impressive successor to arrive on the scene. To say Land Rover has hit a home run with the Defender 90 and 110 would be an understatement. Demand has been so high the UK carmaker has had trouble keeping up with production. And that left the door open for those who might have been considering a new Defender but are not quite ready to say goodbye to the original. That's where Ineos steps in.
Last July, the UK-based company revealed the Grenadier, a rugged off-road SUV that rides on its own unique platform but retains the look and feel of the old school Defender. Unfortunately, production has been delayed, according to Reuters.
Instead of sales beginning in early 2022, that's now been pushed back to July of that year, but for an excellent reason. Ineos CEO Dirk Heilmann said that there's "only one opportunity to get this right and our quality and performance targets for the Grenadier remain paramount. We won't cut corners." Extreme testing is now about to begin for over 130 second-phase prototypes. They're being sent to some of the world's harshest terrains and climates.
Billionaire CEO Jim Ratcliffe's initial plan was to purchase the rights and tooling of the old Defender but it didn't work out. There was even a lawsuit over the new SUV's design with Land Rover arguing it looked way too similar to its icon.
Ultimately, Land Rover failed to convince the court Ineos stole its design. Production will take place at the recently purchased Mercedes factory in Hambach, France, home of the Smart For Two since 1998. Under the Ineos' hood lies a BMW 3.0-liter straight-six that's being specially calibrated for gasoline and diesel variants. A ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission with electronically controlled torque converters will come standard.
So far, around 17,000 potential buyers have registered interest in buying the 4x4 and pricing should begin at around the 40,000 GBP mark, or around $53,000. It's still unknown whether it'll be sold in the US.