Ineos Automotive has revealed its latest update on the forthcoming Grenadier off-roader – dubbed the rival to the Land Rover Defender.
The firm is charting the development of the Grenadier on its Facebook page, offering regular engineering updates for would-be owners and enthusiasts.
The updates are in the form of short documentary videos and the latest one covers the development of the wheels and tyres.
Entitled Building the Grenadier Episode 6 – Kicking the Tyres, it is presented by engineering journalist Mark Evans.
Introducing the film Mark says: “A little over a year ago no one had even heard of the Grenadier.
“Now everyone in the off-road world is talking about it.”
As the film continues Mark says Ineos Automotive has invited some off-roaders to take a look at “a very special prototype”.
Some enthusiasts and off-road professionals then get to look the Grenadier prototype over from top to bottom and they give it a resounding thumbs-up.
One is events manager Dan Harvey, who says: “I have always been a lover of what I call the iconic 4x4s and this to me is an iconic 4×4 for sure.”
Mark Evans talks about the interior of the vehicle, which he says is nearly finished and they will be able to reveal it soon but says the latest film in the Building the Grenadier series is about the wheels and tyres.
He says: “Following a rigorous research and development programme Ineos engineers chose 17-inch steel wheels as the standard set-up but as you know there is a lot more prototype testing under way, so that choice can’t be confirmed just yet.”
The film goes on to speak to Greg Uring, procurement specialist at Ineos Automotive, who said the selection process and prototype testing of tyres started a year ago – leading to the selection of Bridgestone and a decision that the standard fitment tyre will be a tailor-made Bridgestone product.
Andy Mathias, marketing and communication manager for Bridgestone, says: “We changed the compound initially so it has got better off-road performance, particularly in the snow.
“We have worked really hard with the Grenadier team to make sure what is offered as standard fitment is absolutely what is required for the vast majority of people running the Grenadier.”
Mr Mathias says that the wheel and tyre package has been designed to perform off-road in the snow and the mud but designed to offer “great on-road capability as well”.
The film goes on to say that there will be additional options, including 18-inch wheels and alloys.
It concludes with the assembled off-road enthusiasts discussing some the benefits of steel wheels over alloys with Mark Evans, particularly when it comes to extreme settings.
Mark suggests they all have experience of ‘bashing out’ a damaged steel wheel in order to make it home and most agree that they have.
Ineos Automotive recently revealed it is confident the vehicle will now be produced in France instead of the UK.
The car maker is set to build its Grenadier 4×4 in a former Mercedes-Benz factory in northern France, close to the German border, rather than at Bridgend in south Wales.
Ineos Automotive is an offshoot of the chemical giant Ineos.
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It came about after Ineos founder and chairman Sir Jim Ratcliffe decided to produce a vehicle being dubbed the spiritual successor to the old Land Rover Defender.
Production of the old Defender came to an end at Land Rover’s factory in Solihull in January 2016 but it was three-and-a-half years before its successor was unveiled.
Unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2019 the new Defender recently went on sale but it is a world away from the model it replaced.
Ineos Automotive set out to create a rugged go-anywhere off-roader in a bid to plug the gap left by the demise of the old Defender.
The company has originally planned to assembly its off-road vehicle at a new 250,000 sq ft factory in Bridgend in an investment creating 500 jobs.
It also had plans for a chassis manufacturing plant in Portugal for the Grenadier project.
However, earlier this year Ineos suspended work on the two projects, after confirming it has entered into discussions with a view to acquiring the former Mercedes-Benz factory in Hambach, France.
Moving to a single and existing plant in France would save the project tens of millions of pounds.
Ineos Automotive recently confirmed that it expects the project will be based solely in France.
In a statement the company said: “Ineos Automotive is in advanced talks with Mercedes-Benz about acquiring its manufacturing site in Hambach, on the French border with Germany in Moselle.
“Although the deal is not yet done, we are confident that terms will be agreed, and that the Grenadier’s new home will be in France.
“Hambach is a great solution for Ineos, with a highly experienced workforce and an excellent track record amongst Mercedes plants for the quality of its product output.”
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