Get ready for the Ineos Grenadier.
There are some vehicles that have become icons and the automakers who built them typically don't like copycat designs, no matter how flattering. This is one of those cases. Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has just lost a court battle in the UK as it attempted to retain the trademark rights for the shape of its legendary Defender (not to be mistaken with the all-new Land Rover Defender).
The Telegraph reports the court's ruling will allow the Ineos Group, founded and owned by billionaire Jim Ratcliffe, to proceed with the production of its Grenadier off-road SUV. JLR appealed a ruling originally made by the UK Intellectual Property Office that determined the original Defender SUV's design wasn't distinctive enough for it to deserve protective status. A judge has now upheld that ruling acknowledging there are certainly some similarities between the old Defender and Grenadier, but they "may be unimportant, or may not even register, with average consumers."
Even Ratcliffe himself outright admitted the Grenadier is inspired by the Defender, but that doesn't mean he (or anyone else) doesn't have the right to build something similar. As for JLR, it acknowledged it is disappointed by the ruling and pointed out the Defender's general shape has been trademarked in several other markets. "The Land Rover Defender is an iconic vehicle which is part of Land Rover's past, present and future," the automaker said. "Its unique shape is instantly recognizable and signifies the Land Rover brand around the world."
In its own response to the ruling, Ineos said the "that the shape of the Defender does not serve as a badge of origin for JLR's goods. We continue with our launch plans and are excited to bring the Grenadier to market in 2021."
Where does the name Grenadier come from? Turns out its also the name of Ratcliffe's favorite pub. He's a true Englishman, apparently. Although there are many specific design differences between the two SUVs, the Grenadier will be available with a wide range of customization options and accessories. They won't look identical to old school Defenders. Its powertrain, however, remains unknown.
Last we heard, Ineos was working to strike a deal with BMW to be its engine supplier, but nothing has been made official yet.