Video footage has been released which offers the best glimpse yet of the Ineos Grenadier.
The rugged off-roader which is currently being developed, is set to be a rival to the Land Rover Defender.
The brainchild of chemical billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the Grenadier aims to capture the spirit and essence of the old land Rover Defender, which went out of production in January 2016, in a new vehicle.
In the latest footage, released by Ineos Automotive, people are given a behind the scenes look at the development of the vehicle’s suspension system.
The vehicle is also shown in action, with sneak peeks of camouflaged prototypes being tested.
The glimpses of the vehicle itself are short and do not give much away but its rugged styling – inspired by the old Land Rover Defender – is clear to see.
In the five-minute video engineering journalist Mark Evans goes behind the scenes at Magna Steyr in Austria, the company developing the Grenadier’s suspension system, and speaks to Magna development engineer Matthias Mair.
The footage offers an insight into the features of the suspension system and an explanation of how it works.
The video tells how a coil spring suspension system with heavy duty dampers was chosen.
Speaking about the Grenadier project Mark Evans says: “Ineos has pulled together an international team of specialists to bring the Grenadier to life.
“There are around 60 companies already involved and one of the key players is based here in Austria.”
He adds: “It looks like there is a bit of Grenadier takeover here.
“There are around 100 engineers working on the project and 15 in this design office.
“The focus is on creating a suspension set-up that meets the needs of people who use their 4×4 for work every day.
“So, how are the engineers at Magna creating the ultimate 4×4 suspension?
“Well, by taking apart the world’s most renowned off-roaders and benchmarking them.
“Exploring three main options. Leaf spring, coil spring or airbag.
“There was only one way to go it seems – coils and heavy duty dampers.”
The video also speaks to a farmer in the Scottish Highlands, asking him what he wants from a vehicle like the Grenadier.
What is the Grenadier?
The Land Rover Defender is arguably the most iconic vehicle ever and was produced at the same factory in Solihull for almost 70 years before production came to an end in January 2016.
Its simplicity was part of its appeal – along with its capability and what made the Defender so special was its go anywhere capability.
Based on the US Willys Jeep, used by the Allies to great effect during the Second World War, the Land Rover was created as a utilitarian off-road vehicle.
Although a new Defender has since been unveiled and is now on sale, there are some who have not welcomed it, feeling that the spirit of the old Defender has been lost.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who is a graduate of the University of Birmingham and once worked as an engineer in Coventry, founded energy and chemical giant Ineos, which is estimated to be worth in the region of £3.2billion.
A renowned Defender enthusiast, he announced the project in February 2017.
The rugged off-roader will be produced at a new factory being built in Wales.
The bespoke new manufacturing facility is on a greenfield site in Bridgend, South Wales, next to the Ford engine factory which is set to close.
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Site development is underway to support planned start of production in 2021.
Ineos is also investing in a sub-assembly plant in Estarreja, Portugal.
The Portuguese facility will produce the Grenadier’s body and chassis, working in conjunction with Ineos’s European supply chain partners.
Ineos Automotive was the spin-off company set up to deliver the Grenadier.
This year saw the launch of a Facebook countdown which invites people to chart the Grenadier’s progress.
The Ineos project is being run by Dirk Heilmann, formerly head of engineering and technology at Ineos, who became chief executive at Ineos automotive.
Speaking when the project was announced Mr Heilmann said: “Our job is to create the world’s best 4×4.”
Automotive expert Dr Charles Tennant shared his thoughts on the Grenadier project with CoventryLive.
Below is footage of an early Land Rover open day
He said: “With Land Rover clearly going after the premium luxury end of the market, with a more lifestyle orientated customer for their new Defender, Ineos were going to target their Grenadier vehicle as a utility orientated 4×4, robustly engineered to be driven in all conditions and withstand daily punishment.
“The Grenadier is specifically aimed at farmers, utility companies, explorers and off-road enthusiasts all over the world who require a no nonsense uncompromising vehicle with minimum fuss.”
Magna Steyr is undertaking the series development phase of the Grenadier.
Its subsidiary Magna Powertrain has been responsible for chassis and suspension development on the Grenadier since the inception of the project.