Land Rover Defender Replacement has Superyacht Heritage

When the news broke that Land Rover was dropping the Defender from its line-up, quite a few people were upset.

Among them were; Jim Ratcliffe a superyacht owner whose 78 metre Feadship Hampshire II was designed by Toby Ecuyer the creative director of yacht designers RWD who is also a fan of the rugged workhorse of the road.

Ratcliffe, who was a devotee of the original Land Rover Defender is the Chairman of the Ineos Group. When the Defender ceased production, Ratcliffe saw a gap in the market for an uncompromising off-roader that stands for adventure and active driving but also has the capability to be a work and utility machine.

The new 4×4 will not be a replica of the Defender but will reflect its philosophy as well as offering a step change in terms of build quality and reliability. The target market is global and includes agriculture and forestry workers, explorers and adventurers as well as traditional Defender fans that simply enjoy an authentic 4×4 driving experience. Ineos is determined that its new vehicle will offer a real and pure alternative to the current crop of standardised ‘jelly-mould’ SUV’s.

As the company moves into top gear and seeking a production site for the vehicle Ineos intends to invest many hundreds of millions of pounds in Projekt Grenadier – the code name for the venture referencing the Grenadier pub in Knightsbridge, close to the Ineos office, where the plans for this concept were first discussed, 

Whilst the UK remains the favoured location, the company has received a number of offers from European sites keen to build the car.

The site is expected to be capable of producing at least 25,000 cars a year to an extremely high standard. The company is willing to consider green field sites, former car plants and even existing production lines that can be re-configured for the new vehicle. The range of options under consideration includes sites in both the UK and the continent.

It is unlikely that the new vehicle will be called a Defender. Jaguar Land Rover is fiercely protective of the Defender brand and has already successfully prevented a Canadian company using the name Defender for their new all-terrain vehicle

Land Rover is planning its own all-new version of its legendary Defender vehicle and it may be seen on the roads at some point in 2018.