Rugged, off-road-oriented SUVs like the Ford Bronco, Jeep Wrangler and Land Rover Defender could soon face competition from a formidable competitor being developed by the new automotive arm of British chemicals giant Ineos.

That contender is the Grenadier, a boxy, go-anywhere SUV inspired by the previous-generation Land Rover Defender, and in production at a factory in France since the summer. The vehicle begins deliveries in Europe and other markets in the fourth quarter of the year, and Ineos is in the process of establishing a dealer network in the United States.

From the start of the vehicle’s development, Ineos insisted that the US market was part of the plan, and last summer the company hired Greg Clark, a former marketing manager at Jaguar Land Rover and Mercedes-Benz, to help launch local sales.

In an interview with Automotive News (subscription required) published last week, Clark said Ineos already had 5,000 reservations for the Grenadier from US residents, and the company was in the process of signing concessions to convert those reservations into sales. He said Ineos did not want to adopt a direct sales model like many rival startups, but rather the more traditional concession model.

Grenadier Ineos 2022

clark said Automotive News Ineos expects to have approximately 35 dealers in the United States and Canada, and a number of BMW dealers and European import dealers have expressed interest. Many mechanical elements of the Grenadier are common to modern BMWs, including the powertrain and transmission.

Clark has previously said that the Grenadier could begin sales in the United States before the end of 2023, and that to keep things simple, the company is planning just one powertrain for that market, a turbocharged 3-cylinder inline-6. .0 liters. In the Grenadier, the engine is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission and a four-wheel-drive system with a 2-speed transfer case. A diesel is offered in other markets.

Further down the track, a pickup truck body style and possibly even a hydrogen-electric powertrain may be offered. Ineos has also hinted at a smaller electric SUV.

There’s no word on pricing, but rumors point to a base sticker of around $75,000. Pricing in Europe starts at 68,990 euros (about $69,800).

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