German factory builds its first fleet of Grenadier prototypes

Prototypes of the INEOS Grenadier are now rolling out of the firm’s first ever car factory, at Hambach in Germany.

INEOS assembly line

by Theo Ford-Sagers |

INEOS is getting ready to build Grenadiers for customers this summer, potentially filling the gaping whole in the market left by the original Defender’s demise.

Hopes that the Grenadier would be built in Wales were quashed when INEOS bought a factory in Germany from Mercedes in late 2020. The Hambach factory reportedly received €470m of investment by Mercedes in 2019, and INEOS has spent a further €50m equipping the production lines for the Grenadier.

Grenadier initial prototype fleet
Initial prototypes in both 'station wagon' and 'utility wagon' format

130 initial prototypes are being built, referred to as ‘first production try-out’ (PTO1). These will be used for final testing and certification, and they’ll be followed in March by another round of prototypes (PTO2) for validating the assembly process and build quality.

Customer-ready production vehicles will appear in July.

15,000 Grenadiers have already been reserved – more than the number of original Defenders that were being built in a typical year during the model’s twilight period. Customers in the UK, Europe, Asia Pacific and the Middle East will be able to finalise orders from April, online or via their local retailer. (US customers will have to wait until later in the year.) Buyers will be served by INEOS’s network of sales and service businesses – over 100 of them around the world.

INEOS promises the Grenadier will have ‘best-in-class off-road capability, durability and reliability’. Prices are expected to start around £48k.

Grenadier production line
Ever wondered what a Defender bodyshell would look like if made using modern methods?

Some pub trivia

April (when orders open) and July (when full production begins) are the same months in which the first Series I Land Rovers arrived, back in 1948. Orders flocked in when prototypes were unveiled at the Amsterdam Motor Show in April 1948, and the first production Land Rover (chassis 860001, reg JUE 477) was completed in July that summer.

Solihull built 1500 Land Rovers between then and Christmas. Presumably INEOS is expecting to build a few more than that…

INEOS spray booth
Solihull didn't bother painting the inner wings either...
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