The Ineos Grenadier is getting closer to hitting the market, with a media launch event held in Scotland with production-spec vehicles. While the press has hit the trail, early owners are still waiting for delivery. Meanwhile, there are test vehicles of double-cab pickups, and Ineos has gone soft on the hydrogen-powered variant they planned to offer.
The media launch for the Grenadier took place in rural Scotland, an appropriate place for a "British" vehicle (built in France and with a German powertrain, but still British at heart) to get introduced to the world. Although driving impressions are still embargoed, social media is now full of allowable content from the event. Although the Grenadier was never camouflaged or hidden, and there have been some test drives and press events around the world over the past few years, this was the first large-scale event.
Though the auto press is ready to review, Grenadiers are not in the hands of their new owners en masse yet, and they have passed their original goal of late 2022 deliveries. What exactly is causing issues is unclear, but owners on message boards and social media are certainly hoping to see their new vehicles soon. There is not yet any conclusive information on certification, availability dates, or pricing for the North American market. The Ineos website says that pricing will be available in the USA in "early 2023."
Though nobody who is buying a new, expensive vehicle wants to deal with these kinds of teething issues, Ineos has created a car company and a unique vehicle from scratch in the period of a few years, something almost unfathomable in modern times. As a company that has traditionally traded in industrial chemicals, there has also been a huge effort to build a consumer-facing business. Where things go from here is to be seen, but generally, the impression is that the Grenadier is an impressive, if expensive, alternative to the new Defender for those looking for a more traditional vehicle.
For those who were looking for something other than an equal to the old Defender 110, a double-cab pickup is now in testing, reflecting the design of the old Defender 130. The rumor mill says it's coming in late 2023, though perhaps that should be taken lightly considering current delivery issues. Since it'll presumably be built in the Grenadier's French factory, it's also unlikely to come to the United States due to the continuing issues caused by the Chicken Tax, a tariff on foreign-built pickups that's a remnant of a decades-old European trade war.
Meanwhile, Ineos has gone a bit cold on their plans to offer a hydrogen-powered vehicle, which was their answer to clean-energy powertrains. Though the engineering work has been done, and Ineos remains optimistic about the potential for hydrogen power on the whole, the lack of infrastructure has made them iffy on continuing down the engineering path at full tilt. They intend to have a fuel cell vehicle running by mid-2023 as a test vehicle, but without widespread refueling infrastructure, it's obviously a bit pointless to continue down the path.
The Grenadier has been a fascinating side story to the death and rebirth of the Defender since 2016. Some Land Rover fans see it as the "true new Defender" and have put their money where their mouth is, while others consider it overhyped vaporware. Though it's never worn the Land Rover badge, it will clearly exist in a parallel space. As the year 2023 moves along, there should be lots to look forward to as Grenadier hits the road, hits private ownership around the world, and comes into its own as one of the few options for a world-beating 4x4 alongside the modern Land Rover lineup, Toyota 4x4s, and a few other players.
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