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French-built Land Rover stand-in finally rolls off the production line

The cars should be with customers in December but high taxes may put many French drivers off buying one

Production of the 4x4 was hit by Covid-related delays Pic: Ineos

The first Ineos Grenadier – 4x4s designed as Land Rover replacements – rolled off the production line in Hambach, Moselle, this autumn after Covid delays.

They should be with customers in December, but it is unlikely many will be bought by French motorists as the €69,490 asking price will have around €40,000 in malus taxes (for polluting vehicles) added to it.

Currently, company cars escape the same level of taxation, and a two-seat model is on sale for €60,950.

Firms can buy a five-seater from €68,463, but the back seats have less space for passengers than the model aimed at private owners.

Pub inspiration

Sir Jim Ratcliffe, CEO of Ineos, a British chemicals company, was inspired to make the vehicles in a pub called The Grenadier.

He had been talking about the end of Land Rover production and how difficult it was to find 4x4s with similar off-road capacity and utility.

Spotting a gap in the market, he set out to design and build the vehicles, creating Ineos Automotive in the process.

Ineos bought the Hambach factory used to make Smart cars from Daimler in 2020 at a low price, along with €500million of equipment and a trained workforce.

Many workers were present at the ceremony to welcome the first Grenadier off the production line.

The vehicles have BMW-sourced six-cylinder diesel or petrol motors and automatic gearboxes. A hydrogen fuel cell model is in development too.

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