The INEOS Grenadier has completed the dynamic testing phase of its development program and is now on track to enter production in July 2022.
Confirmed for release in Australia, where INEOS Automotive previously said it would also be tested prior to launch, the Grenadier continues the hard-core utilitarian approach abandoned by the Land Rover Defender in 2016 and will also be available in five-door wagon and four-door ute forms.
However, it won’t be built in the UK following the decision to build the ladder-frame 4×4 at a former Daimler factory that previously produced smart vehicles in Hambach, France.
Now, INEOS says the Grenadier has completed the next phase of its dynamic testing program, this time on the hard-rock terrain of the Schöckl mountain near the Austrian headquarters of its engineering partner Magna Steyr.
The off-road capability and durability of several second-generation Grenadier prototypes was successfully tested on the hard-rock terrain that helped develop a range of Magna Steyr vehicles over several decades.
Following previous high-altitude testing in Austria and cold-climate testing in the Swedish Arctic Circle, INEOS says the Grenadier has now passed a key engineering gateway “with flying colours” and is on track to meet its quality and durability targets before production begins later than originally planned in just over 12 months.
“We’ve made great strides since the very early versions of the Grenadier I drove a year ago,” said INEOS chairman Sir Jim Radcliffe after signing off the second phase of engineering prototypes in the Austrian alps.
“The Schöckl is a proper challenge for any 4×4. Today was a real test for our prototypes, and they came through very well. There is still work to do, but I am confident that the Grenadier will do the job we have developed it for.”
INEOS said the next phase of its development and validation process will subject the Grenadier to intense hot-weather testing in some of the world’s harshest environments, including Death Valley in the US and the sand dunes of the Middle East.
“Reaching this important development milestone is a great step forward for the project,” said INEOS CEO Dirk Heilmann.
“We only have one opportunity to get this right and our quality and performance targets for the Grenadier remain paramount. We won’t cut corners. After today’s very positive results we are on track to reach our targets and to allow the start of production in July next year at the latest.”
Although slowed by the COVID-19 pandemic, INEOS says testing of second-phase Grenadier prototypes will see more than 130 vehicles accumulate 1.8 million kilometres in extreme environments around the world.
Conceived in Britain, engineered in Germany and backed by petrochemicals giant INEOS Group, the Grenadier is claimed to deliver “best-in-class off-road capability, durability and reliability to those who depend on a vehicle as a working tool, wherever they are in the world”.