Ineos Grenadier one step closer to the public
20 February 2022
Ineos Automotive has completed the transition from developer of automotive projects to a fully-fledged OEM, as the first 130 ‘phase one’ Grenadier 4x4s roll off the production line in Hambach, north-eastern France.
Completion of the first phase at the company’s Hambach plant in France, which is the manufacturing site for the Grenadier, marks the end of a five-year journey for Ineos, which began in 2017 with initial plans for a ‘stripped back, utilitarian, hard-working 4×4’.
In January 2021, the company invested over €50m in the facility, which was previously owned by Mercedes-Benz, which in turn made an additional investment of €470m in 2019, constructing an all-new production line.
The Hambach factory is now dedicated to the building of the Grenadier, complete with a new fully-automated bodyshop, a new semi-automated paintshop, and an upgraded general assembly section. Hambach also benefits from a new high-tech quality-assessment centre.
A year in the making
In a relatively short space of time, Ineos has managed to reconfigure the former Mercedes-Benz manufacturing facility into a bespoke place for putting together the Grenadier. The new OEM confirmed its acquisition of the Hambach manufacturing facility back in late 2020, after initial plans to build a factory in Bridgend, south Wales.
Just 12 months after taking charge of the French plant, Ineos is nearing the end of a first production try-out phase. The team has built 130 Grenadier models – a process key in defining the assembly process and providing the engineering team with production-representative vehicles for final rounds of testing and certification.
The second phase of Grenadier manufacturing starts in March 2022, where the validation of build quality and the assembly process will be completed. While all this is going on, the commercial aspects of the business will join up with the finished product and the 100-plus global sales partners, ahead of scheduled delivery to showrooms from July 2022.
‘Some 15,000 customers worldwide have reserved their Grenadier,’ said Dirk Heilmann, CEO of Ineos Automotive. ‘We want to deliver a vehicle that’s ready, and we won’t cut corners. With the benefit of the highly-skilled and experienced team at Hambach, as well as the expertise in safety and quality that we have employed, we are on target to begin series production in July.’
Plans for the Grenadier beyond ICE
Ineos has been focused on readying the Grenadier for its initial production run, but the British company has also been looking beyond internal-combustion engine (ICE) variants.
In October 2021, it announced plans to develop a hydrogen-powered Grenadier as part of a €2 billion investment in green hydrogen, and launched an advocacy campaign, drawing attention to both the benefits and applications of automotive hydrogen power. Ineos plans to test the hydrogen-powered Grenadier in 2022.
Away from the more experimental automotive realm, the pricing of the ICE-powered Grenadier, and full details on specifications, will be available from April 2022 for customers in Europe, Africa, Asia Pacific and the Middle East, with the North American market receiving the full picture later in 2022.