British tycoon Jim Ratfcliffe, the chairman of INEOS Group, has officially signed on Tuesday a deal to buy a Mercedes-Benz plant in Hambach, where the Grenadier off-roader are set to be manufactured.
The acquisition secures the future of the site and safeguards many jobs that might otherwise have been lost, reads a press release from INEOS.
The Hambach site, which is near the French-German border, is a state-of-the-art facility with a highly skilled workforce and is well located for access to markets, suppliers and automotive talent. The site currently builds smart EQ fortwo electric vehicles, which INEOS will continue to produce alongside the Grenadier.
Manufacturing at Hambach ensures that INEOS remains on track to meet its plans to deliver the Grenadier to customers in early 2022.
“Hambach presented us with a unique opportunity that we simply could not ignore: to buy a modern automotive manufacturing facility with a world-class workforce. INEOS Automotive set out a vision to build the world’s best utilitarian 4×4, and at our new home in Hambach, we will do just that,” said Ratcliffe.
The British firm began talks with Mercedes-Benz to purchase the facility shortly after the German firm put it up for sale in July, as part of a streamlining of its production network. Financial terms of the deal haven’t been disclosed.
Under the terms of the acquisition, Mercedes-Benz will contract INEOS to continue to produce the smart EQ fortwo and some Mercedes-Benz components at Hambach. When combined with INEOS’ plans for the Grenadier, this translate into some 1,300 jobs.
Dirk Heilmann, CEO of INEOS Automotive said that the acquisition marks the biggest milestone yet in the development of the Grenadier.
“Alongside the exhaustive testing program that our prototype vehicles are now undergoing, we can now begin preparations at Hambach to build our 4×4 from late next year for delivery to our customers around the globe.”
The Grenadier, engineered to provide best-in-class off-road capability and durability, is one of a family of vehicles the industrial group intends to build in an attempt to gain a foothold in the car industry.