Dreaming up vehicles within the fashion of a long time previous and placing them into mass manufacturing is one thing all of us daydream about once in a while, however such initiatives usually require the checking account of a billionaire. Fortunately, there are fans on the market who not solely dream of the identical factor, they’re precise billionaires. A number of are even keen to undergo with one thing like that.
This brings us to billionaire businessman Jim Ratcliffe, who desires to choose up the place the Land Rover Defender left off: A go-anywhere off-roader within the spirit of the basic Land Rover, however not loaded to the gunwales with luxurious trimmings. Dubbed Projekt Grenadier and backed by petroleum big INEOS, which has dedicated to spend north of $800 million on the thought, the corporate plans to design an uncompromising 4×4 off-roader from scratch and put a complete vary of fashions into manufacturing. At a time when essentially the most that car-crazed millionaires can muster is one other supercar venture that, if it is fortunate, survives to enter restricted manufacturing earlier than stalling attributable to (choose your favourite) astronomical worth, lack of demand, ridiculous design, jailing of its founders, unreliable half suppliers, engine fires, drug busts or cash-flow issues, the purpose to create a no-frills rural workhorse is encouraging, and never simply because it is backed by an organization with huge assets.
“Our job is to create the world’s greatest and most uncompromising 4×4, and we’re steadily shifting ahead with the venture,” says Dirk Heilmann, the CEO of INEOS Automotive and chief of Projekt Grenadier. “We have now recruited a first-class administration staff, are making good progress in our seek for a producing website, and we at the moment are launching the brand new Projekt Grenadier interactive web site.”
Gallery Land Rover Defender expertise program
To start with, why the working title Projekt Grenadier? The Grenadier is a pub within the posh London district of Belgravia the place Ratcliffe got here up with the thought of such a no-frills 4×4. That is principally how all nice concepts are born, over some ale, so the venture has that going for it. One other factor it has going for it’s manufacturing and engineering experience; the corporate is already searching for a producing website, and it plans to create 7,000 jobs within the U.Okay. Additionally going for it’s the truth that the next-gen Defender, due in 2019, is anticipated to be fairly faraway from Defenders of a long time previous, which grew out of the previous “Collection” Land Rovers that have been successive evolutions of the 1948 authentic. The following-gen Defender is anticipated to be a extra direct competitor to the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, which itself shall be changed by a wider and extra luxurious SUV within the subsequent couple of years — for each automobiles, this implies tons of contemporary parts-bin tech and a luxurious worth to match.
“The constructing of our new 4×4 is an journey story in itself,” says Ratcliffe. “We’re used to taking over huge, modern initiatives and delivering them safely on time and on funds. We have now huge quantities of producing and engineering experience and a confirmed monitor file of success, and we look ahead to making use of this to create a world-class 4×4.”
However there are a couple of essential methods during which the Grenadier shall be totally different from the Defender that went out of manufacturing final yr.
First, Ratcliffe desires it to be dependable, with the corporate promising “an enormous leap in reliability.” The final Defender, regardless of being seemingly uncomplicated and old style (what number of components can it presumably have?) was not precisely a shining instance of reliability even after a long time in manufacturing. Second, the Grenadier won’t be notably expensive just like the final Defender grew to be and the following Defender shall be. Ratcliffe’s venture is aiming for a base worth of £35,000, which interprets to about $47,500. Third, the Grenadier won’t purpose to be a mass-market effort aimed to please over 100 world luxurious automobile markets; the corporate plans to supply about 25,000 automobiles per yr.
Projekt Grenadier derives its identify from a well-known pub in London, however it probably will not be the 4×4’s precise identify. The corporate is now looking for recommendation on naming and design on its web site.
What’s going to it appear to be? The corporate nonetheless does not have a design for the 4×4, however an old style 4×4 can solely look so many alternative methods. Given Ratcliffe’s penchant for previous Land Rovers, we’re guessing a stylistic nod of some type to the Defender will not be out of the query. One other factor that is lacking for now could be an official identify for the truck, although Grenadier sounds improbable and may truly stick until INEOS comes up with one thing new actually quickly.
Talking of names and designs, the Projekt Grenadier web site is up and working with the corporate inviting recommendation and suggestions for the brand new automobile.
At a time when SUVs are rapidly turning into luxurious yachts weighed down by flat-screen screens and massaging seats, it is refreshing to see one thing very reverse start forming with some actual funding behind it. We simply hope it does not grow to be the most recent hipster automotive, with its guarantees of old-timey authenticity.