One of the world’s largest chemical groups, UK based Ineos, has announced plans to build a brand new ‘uncompromising 4×4 off-roader’. Whilst the global supplier of petrochemicals, speciality chemicals and oil products, is one of the largest manufacturers in the world, it will be the first time that the company has produced a vehicle.
Following the completion of a six month feasibility study, Ineos stated that it sees a gap in the market for the off-roader following Jaguar Land Rover’s decision to cease production of its Land Rover Defender. “This is a fantastically exciting project,” stated Jim Ratcliffe, Ineos Chairman. “We want to build the world’s purest 4×4 and are aiming it at explorers, farmers and off-road enthusiasts across the globe.”
The company is expecting to spend many hundreds of millions on the project and is determined that the vehicle will not only fill a gap in the market vacated by the Defender but also provide a step change improvement in build quality and reliability. Identification of a suitable manufacturing location will be a part of the next phase of the project and the company said it will look at UK sites alongside other European options.
The project is to be run by Dirk Heilmann, formerly head of Engineering and Technology at Ineos. Heilmann, now CEO of Ineos Automotive, has already started recruiting a team of automotive experts and stated, “This is an amazing project for everyone involved. Our job is to create the world’s best 4×4 and we are already moving forward with our plans.”
The vehicle will not be a replica of the Defender but will reflect its philosophy. The target market is global and includes agriculture and forestry workers, explorers and adventurers as well as traditional Defender fans that simply enjoy an authentic 4×4 driving experience.
“I am a great admirer of the old Land Rover Defender and have enormous respect for its off road capability,” added Ratcliffe, “Our new 4×4 has been inspired by it. But whilst our off-roader might share its spirit, our new car will be a major improvement on previous models.”