Jim Ratcliffe, INEOS

Most of us have thought about designing our own off-roader, especially if our favorite wheeler has been discontinued. One man, a fan of the departed Land Rover Defender, is setting out to do just that.

Being a billionaire helps in this endeavor, of course. Jim Ratcliffe is one of Europe’s leading international businessmen and the founder and chairman of chemicals and energy giant INEOS. He is a die-hard admirer of the Land Rover Defender, so when the company announced it was ceasing production, Mr. Ratcliffe and his friends decided they could build an off-roader of their own. This being Belgravia, the plans were drawn up in – where else – a pub, conveniently named the Grenadier.

INEOS has committed to spending £600 million on the vehicle and expects the project to create up to 7,000 direct and indirect jobs. A range of models are planned for sale across the world including multiple wheel base options as well as diesel, petrol and hybrid engines to suit different markets. Their intent is to build a true Defender successor, one that marries world-class construction with uncompromised capability.

“The building of our new 4×4 is an adventure story in itself”, said Mr. Ratcliffe in a press release. “We are used to taking on big, innovative projects and delivering them safely on time and on budget. We have vast amounts of manufacturing and engineering expertise and a proven track record of success and look forward to applying this to create a world class 4×4.”

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All this is strictly in the planning stages, of course, but to discount the tenacity of someone like Mr. Ratcliffe would be a mistake. He and his team fully expect their vision to come to fruition. Yesterday, INEOS Automotive announced Projekt Grenadier’s senior management team and launched the interactive website which allows gearheads to chime in on the project’s development.

As of this week, INEOS Automotive has launched the Projekt Grenadier website where one can deliver input and opine on how the company should pick up where Land Rover left off when they cancelled the mighty Defender. The site offers gearheads an opportunity to join the conversation by way of a survey and social media hashtags. One can even submit name suggestions for the future 4×4.

Their finished car is planned to be revealed in sketches next year before entering preliminary production sometime in 2019 and appearing in finished form in the calendar year 2020.

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