- $84,500 starting price for Ineos Grenadier
- Five-year, unlimited km warranty
- Bosch to provide service and warranty support in “strategically important locations”
- Identical pricing for six-cylinder BMW petrol and diesel engines
- Ineos ute coming
- Extensive range of accessories and encouragement of aftermarket options
- Targeting 4×4 customers who have “been left behind” by upmarket push
- Opportunity to touch and sit in development vehicle currently in Australia
- Local testing and development
- Long “get it dirty” test drives
The apparently rugged and capable Ineos Grenadier off-roader will be priced from $84,500 plus on-road costs.
Customer deliveries are due in Australia in the fourth quarter of 2022 and the Land Rover lookalike will be backed by a five-year unlimited kilometre warranty and include after-sales support in many remote parts of the country.
With a choice of inline six-cylinder turbocharged BMW diesel or petrol engines – there will be no price difference between the two – the Grenadier will also have a standard eight-speed gearbox from German supplier ZF.
It’s the start of a long list of quality components and intensive engineering aimed at making the newcomer to the 4×4 scene among the most capabile and rugged of 4WDs while ensuring a high level of refinement and technology.
Inspired by the old (and much loved) Land Rover Defender, the Grenadier was conceived in a British pub (the Grenadier) over beers by executives of chemicals giant Ineos that saw an opening in a market that was going upmarket and – in many cases – softer in the rough stuff.
And Australia is a key target for the automotive newcomer as it looks to provide an alternative to the likes of the Toyota LandCruiser, Nissan Patrol and new Land Rover Defender.
Testing and development of Grenadier prototypes is already underway around the world, with one recently arriving in Australia.
Ineos Australia open for business
Locally, Ineos will be headed by the former sales director of Jaguar Land Rover Justin Hocevar, who previously headed Renault and Mini in Australia.
Hocevar says Ineos will launch in Australia with 16 “agency partners”, including a dealership in major metro centres. That will grow to 38 agency partners across Australia and New Zealand by 2024.
Crucially, that after-sales support and parts supply will cover many remote areas.
“At launch [we’ll cover] 80 percent of the population and by year three 98 percent of the Australian population will be in reasonable proximity to a sales and service outlet,” says Hocevar.
During a presentation announcing its Australian plans Ineos popped up a map that showed proposed locations for service centres, many of which will also be sales outlets. They included Alice Springs, Port Hedland, Port Augusta, Shepparton, Cairns, Geraldton, Albany, Tamworth, Mildura and Rockhampton.
Ineos is teaming with a broad range of partners to supply sales and service support. Some of those partners have a specialised focus on 4x4s or accessories. They also include some Bosch outlets (Bosch is a supplier for Ineos globally), which will double as authorised Ineos Grenadier service centres.
And Hocevar is adamant there will be no “gin palaces”, with Ineos instead focused on its core market and their expectations.
“The Grenadier is the showroom,” says Hocevar, saying he doesn’t want glitz and glamour to showcase a car that can tell its own story.
“We’re not loading excess bloated costs into our total cost and distribution. We’d rather put as much value as possible into the vehicle itself.”
Prices will be fixed as part of an “agency model” whereby cars are purchased directly from Ineos Australia rather than from the dealer. Dealers can still facilitate the sale and deliver the car, or buyers can purchase online.
Broad Grenadier range covering commercial and touring applications
The $84,500 start price is for a two-seater commercial version of the Grenadier wagon.
Versions with more seats and luxury will be more expensive, but Hocevar insists “they won’t disappear into stratospheric pricing”, suggesting the price step-up will be “not dissimilar to what you’ll find with competitors in the market”.
The BMW engines will be tuned for life in an off-roader designed to tow and cover vast distances in often remote locations.
“We will not be taking them in a super high tune,” says Hocevar, adding “we’re going to focus on torque … the thing you need in a 4×4”.
He says much of the engineering effort has been on reliability and capability.
“The longevity of these vehicles will be exceptional.”
And, in what could be interpreted as a dig at Land Rover – which focuses more on cities and suburbs than the bush these days – he said “we’re not looking at 22-inch rims”.
Like the rest of the Grenadier, tyres will be chosen for hardcore off-roaders.
Ineos targeting 4×4 buyers who’ve been “left behind”
Ineos has made no secret the Grenadier was created to fill the void left by the legendary Land Rover Defender (the Defender still exists, but is a very different car to the original that was discontinued in 2016).
No surprise that it looks similar to that now-gone Defender, at least from the outside.
And Ineos believes it can tempt some of those old Defender buyers – as well as drivers of other off-roaders that may have morphed, added complexity or softened over the years.
Part of the sales pitch is that it promises to retain all the off-road goodness – separate chassis, big ground clearance, long wheel travel, short overhangs and so-on – but with modern technology and comforts thrown in.
Hocevar says the brand is hoping to appeal to 4WDs who think they may have “been left behind” in the evolution of off-roaders.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if there are people out there that are sitting on five, six, ten-year old vehicles because they’re really struggling to find something to move on to,” he says. “We can come in and offer them a solution.”
Key targets include the Toyota LandCruiser – both the utilitarian 70-Series and the soon-to-arrive 300-Series – as well as the Toyota Prado, Jeep Wrangler, Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen and Nissan Patrol.
Ineos says there are four core target customers.
One is tourers, towers and adventurers. Anyone from grey nomads to families or couples looking to explore the country.
Another is the “extremists and purists” who typically fit loads of accessories and tackle all manner of challenging terrain, sometimes just for the fun of it rather than to actually get somewhere.
Then there are people who need a proper 4WD for work, the so-called “utilitarians”. It could be a vet, a tradie, a farmer, surveyor or linesman.
The final target is fleets (including, potentially mining companies and governments). One challenge attracting some of those will be the lack of an independent safety rating. Ineos is not planning on getting the car tested and it’s unlikely an organisation such as ANCAP would spring up the cash to test the car given its low volumes.
Ineos says there will be ample airbags and active safety systems, but without that safety rating some fleets may take it off any shortlist.
As for how many the company will sell. That’s obviously unknown, but Ineos is thinking niche to start with.
“We’ve got a plant [in France] that can easily knock out 30,000 units [annually],” says Hocevar.
“I’d say that I’m going to be fighting for Australians to win some production down here so they can get enough customers on board.”
He says in the first year “we might do 1000 units, we might add another few hundred in New Zealand and we’d be really happy with that.”
Going the distance: the quest for reliability
The design and engineering promise of the Ineos looks great and ticks plenty of 4WD boxes.
But there’s one it can’t achieve from the start – a reputation for reliability.
Hocevar admits that’s something that must be earned.
“We’ve got a long road ahead of us to educate people about what we do, how we do it, when we do it, why we do it.”
But he says the “testing in plain sight” approach of the company and the singular focus makes it an easier story to tell.
“We’ve also gone to best in class suppliers around the world and worked with best in class engineering around the world and done a lot of testing in plain sight to get all the know-how together. We’ve gone to them with a very specific brief.”
The engineering partner for the Grenadier is Austrian-based firm Magna Steyr, which also manufactures the G-Wagen for Mercedes-Benz.
Hocevar says “the longevity of these vehicles will be exceptional.”
Get in and get dirty
Rather than a drive around the block test drive, Ineos is encouraging owners to really experience the vehicle.
“We want customers to come and take a vehicle and have a proper test drive – take it, get it dirty, get a good feel for the vehicle.”
After-sales support will be enhanced by an online system that makes identifying parts easy and can provide step-by-step guides on the repair.
“We can give access to other people that need it if they’re stuck in remote areas,” says Hocevar, confirming that could involve allowing information to individuals.
Dual-cab Ineos ute coming soon
The Grenadier is the start of the Ineos car manufacturing story.
“A dual-cab is going to be available,” says Hocevar, adding “it will be a very important model in our portfolio.”
While he wouldn’t stipulate when the Ineos ute would come to market he said it was “not a long way”.
To say that’s an important car for Australia is an understatement.
SUV sales are booming, but so are utes, to the point where one in five new vehicles sold is now a ute.
Hydrogen fuel cell still on the Grenadier radar
Ineos says it will eventually produce a zero emissions version of the Grenadier.
In 2020 Ineos inked a deal with Hyundai, which has big plans for fuel cells and already sells the Nexo in Australia.
The plan is to utilise Hyundai fuel cell tech in the Grenadier, giving the company access to zero emissions tech.
It would also allow the Grenadier to be sold in markets where sales of petrol and diesel cars is planned to be phased out in future.
For now, though, the focus is on traditional powerplants.
“We’ve got an eye on the future,” says Hocevar.
“Right here right now what we know is that our customers need an internal combustion engine.”