Ineos Abandons UK Project

Tue 18th Aug 2020

The company behind the Defender 4x4 look-a-like has turned its back on a proposed UK production plant, favouring instead a move to France.

Ineos Automotive announced the decision this week, revealing that their Grenadier 4x4 will be built at a factory in northern France, rather than at Bridgend in Wales - despite the Welsh government already investing £5m in the project.

The Grenadier is being styled as the natural successor to the more traditional Land Rover Defender, and last week won a landmark high court case to continue producing the same design and look, despite opposition from Land Rover.

Ineos, which is owned by chemicals magnate, Sir Jim Ratcliffe was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2019, and it now appears that the German connection will continue as the company invests in a former Mercedes-Benz factory close to the German border.

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.”

According to reports, the Welsh government had already committed £5m of the taxpayers money to the project by improving the infrastructure around the proposed Bridgend site.

A spokesperson for the Welsh government said: “We have invested significant time and money in this project and, should the situation arise, and Ineos decide not to invest further in Wales we will of course look to recoup appropriate costs from the company.”