Surprising rebirth of Land Rover Defender
BMW engines will power a brand-new but old-school off-roader. Land Rover stopped building the boxy Defender three years ago. Now a Brit-based start-up plans to produce a successor to the boxy workhorse.
It'll be called the Grenadier, after the London pub where the idea was born. But this isn't some beer-fuelled fantasy. The Land Rover-reviving start-up is a spin-off of one of the world's biggest chemical companies, Ineos.
Company founder, chairman and majority shareholder, Jim Ratcliffe, was one of the group of pint-sippers lamenting the loss of the Defender. So he set up Ineos Automotive in 2016 specifically to fill the gap.
His aim is to preserve the Defender's hose-out practicality and rugged personality, but to lift build quality and reliability to LandCruiser levels. Ineos Automotive plans to unveil a prototype of the Grenadier in 2020.
With BMW confirming placement of an order for tens of thousands of petrol and diesel engines, Ineos Automotive has taken a big step towards achieving its objective.
And BMW sees more deals like the Ineos Automotive contract in its future. "This is a business area with real growth potential," said BMW boss Pieter Nota.
Land Rover's next-generation Defender - due to be revealed at the end of this year - is set to beat a different path compared to its 67-year-old predecessor.
While still capable of heading off-road the new Defender will be more capable on road and will skew luxury. Earlier this year the car's interior was leaked online showing a myriad of digital screens and premium materials and hi-tech gear.