The evolution of UK-based Ineos Automotive and its upcoming rugged SUV, the Grenadier, has taken another step forward with the company’s announcement that its North American headquarters will be located in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Many may not think of Raleigh, part of the state’s famous Research Triangle, as a place to establish a fledgling auto business, but Greg Clark, the man who runs its operations in North America, points out that he has a variety of strengths.
He noted that the region’s booming economy and technological expertise are bonuses for an automotive company, making the region an attractive place to find and attract talent; however, he also noted that there are few places in the country that combine these factors while providing the geography that truly meets push the Grenadier to its maximum capacity.
â(It’s) surrounded not only by the scenery but also by the clientele who really love 4 Ã 4 vehicles,â he said. âThey love to get off the roads and there are spectacular roads, national forests – we are closer to the customer. So it’s very important for us not to necessarily be in the northeast, or to be in a large metropolitan area where we don’t see a lot of the great outdoors. It is important for me to be nearby.
North American operations
Much like building a new vehicle business from scratch, North American operations will develop the same way: slowly and intentionally. Clark said his operation will reach around 25 people by the end of 2022 and grow nearly 50 by the end of 2024.
âFrom there, we will lead operations across North America, focusing on the United States, but also Canada and Mexico,â he said.
A new robust choice
The Ineos Grenadier is the creation of Sir Jim Ratcliffe, CEO of Ineos, one of the world’s largest chemical companies. A longtime Land Rover Defender enthusiast, Ratcliffe decided to build his own version of a next-gen Land Rover Defender after the last one was released in 2016. A new version of the Defender debuted last year.
Thus, Ineos Automotive was born, supplying a market that the company considers underserved. Radcliffe wanted a vehicle built to last over a decade, designed to tackle difficult terrain, not just two tracks.
Being a brand new company, Ineos has partnered with BMW Group and Magna Steyr to help bring the vehicle to market.
A turbocharged BMW 6-cylinder in-line engine and an 8-speed ZF automatic transmission with manual gearshift capability calibrated specifically for the vehicle will be standard. A manual transmission will not be offered. A diesel engine will be sold in most markets, but not in the United States or Canada due to the difficulty in meeting emission requirements, although Mexico remains a possibility.
The Grenadier will come with a two-speed transfer case, three locking differentials and a towing capacity of 7,700 pounds. There are solid beam axles for maximum articulation and a galvanized steel ladder frame. Steel and alloy rims will be offered.