England-based Ineos is on a quest to reinvent the original Land Rover Defender by developing an off-roader that's more rugged than stylish. The company, which is one of the largest chemical producers in the world and new to the automotive industry, published a video that shows the bones it's building its first truck on.
Starting from scratch gives Ineos the freedom to design a truck to its own specifications. It said selecting a unibody platform, which Land Rover chose for the new Defender, wasn't an option. "Using a ladder frame is the only way to build a proper off-road vehicle," stated Andreas Albrecht, the company's chief engineer of vehicle integration. "We are not using a monocoque because we are not building an SUV," he added. The frame is made with high-tensile steel that's up to 0.15-inch thick, which is about on par with a Chevrolet Silverado.
Automakers are gradually ditching solid axles; even Chevrolet's Tahoe and Suburban gained an independent rear suspension as part of their latest redesign, but Ineos is bucking this trend. It will build the Grenadier with tried-and-true solid axles on both ends, and it justified its decision by pointing out they improve ground clearance, they offer better articulation, they're stronger, plus they're simpler and easier to fix than an independent suspension.
Developing a street-legal car in 2020 is a multi-million-dollar endeavor, so Ineos is enlisting a long list of suppliers in a bid to keep costs in check. Austria-based Magna Steyr developed the frame and the suspension, and it's helping Ineos turn the Grenadier into a production-feasible off-roader. Carraro Group, a well-known supplier in the world of tractors and construction machinery like excavators, will provide the front and rear solid axles.
Although the video makes no mention of technical specifications, Ineos has already announced the Grenadier will be available with a gasoline- or a diesel-burning straight-six engine borrowed from the BMW parts bin. Four-wheel drive will, of course, come standard, but information about transmission options remains unavailable. Looking ahead, the company could make a hydrogen-powered drivetrain available as an electrified alternative.
Ineos will publish additional information about the Grenadier in the coming months, and a full reveal is scheduled for late 2020. Production is tentatively scheduled to start in Wales in 2021. Autoblog reached out to the company to find out whether the American market is on its radar, and we'll update this story if we learn more.