Land Rover officially stopped producing the classic Defender in 2016 after 68 years. Now, a billionaire wants to fill that gap.
Petrochemicals billionaire, founder and CEO of INEOS Jim Ratcliffe, plans to build a new and "real" 4X4 modeled on the classic Land Rover Defender, and promises to sell as many as 25 000 of them per year, 10 000 more per year than the Defender ever sold. This is after Land Rover scrapped the classic Defender for a new shape (still to be unveiled) and it is understood that the old shape is no longer trademarked in the UK. This means that billionaires like this can step on in and make a "new" Land Rover modeled on the old and Land Rover can do nothing about it.
Land Rover however, does state that the old Defender is currently being trademarked by the company that invented it, but this doesn't seem to be very clear, nor is it deterring the billionaire. As such, Ratcliffe seems optimistic and has even named the new vehicle - The Grenadier, after his favourite pub where he got the inspiration for it while having a couple. In fact, you can now vote for that name on the official INEOS automotive website.
Here's Ratcliffe with some of his boytjies talking all things Defender outside the Grenadier. Pics from AutoExpress.
“The Land Rover Defender was the world’s most famous car," said Ratcliffe, "It conquered the planet [and] many people have lamented its demise as it still fulfills a great function, but now there’s a gaping hole for a world class 4x4."
His vision, as is reported in Automotive News Europe and AutoExpress is indeed inspirational and will, if it is realised, make it one of the largest car producers in Britain if it is indeed built there, surpassing the likes of Aston Martin, Bentley, Rolls Royce and McLaren: "We'd have to build new [infrastructure] in the UK to [realise that but] you're talking about hundreds of millions to build a facility... it does need some government support."
With support, a classic and properly built "new" Land Rover Defender is quite the thought, considering the fact that the old Land Rover Defender ditched its own success for something that will surely never be as successful and good. INEOS just won't tolerate this new "Defender", this imposter, and so wants a legacy of its own dedicated to the real Defender - a real 4X4 and not one masquerading as one.
In a world saturated with soft SUVs, a "real" 4X4 born from a classic can surely only be a good idea.
Expect the Grenadier in 2020.