The new Ineos Grenadier 4x4 has officially gone on sale in the UK, priced from £49,000 and available in both commercial and passenger guises.
The Grenadier range opens up with the two-seat Utility Wagon, which will rival the Toyota Land Cruiser Commercial and Land Rover Defender Commercial with a load capacity of 2088 litres, a towing capacity of 3500kg and the ability to winch a 5500kg load.
The five-seat passenger version, priced from £52,000, matches those towing and winching abilities, and though load capacity is reduced to 1152 litres - that's 77 litres more than the equivalent Land Rover Defender 110.
Topping the line-up from launch are a pair of special editions developed in partnership with Ineos-owned clothing brand Belstaff, both priced at £59,000 and equipped with many optional extras as standard - including an auxiliary battery, front park assist, a reversing camera, electrically adjustable heated mirrors and a raised air intake.
All versions are available with either a petrol or diesel option, both BMW 3.0-litre straight-six units, mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
The new car maker recently announced 24 retail outlets across the country, which will be based in existing Audi, BMW, and Ford dealerships, and an aim for customers to be “within 45 minutes of an official location”.
Retailers include Jardine Colchester and Sevenoaks, Day’s Audi in Neath, Halliwell Jones BMW in Chester and Harwoods Ford in Portsmouth.
They make up a sizeable portion of the 160 locations Ineos has signed up globally and will be supplemented by a further 10 UK locations.
The firm said it wants to have 200 globally by the end of 2022. It hasn't yet confirmed which UK location will be the first to open.
“We've worked tirelessly for over a year to find retail partners in the UK that share our enthusiasm and excitement for the Grenadier,” said Gary Pearson, Ineos's head of sales and marketing.
First customer deliveries will get under way in the final quarter of 2022, and the company envisages an eventual annual sales peak in the UK of 6000 units, skewed towards commercial variants.
Ineos plans to "make the buying process as convenient and painless as possible" with an equal focus on providing a digital retail model and a physical dealer network.
In addition, Ineos has partnered with Bosch to provide aftersales support and plans to open 14 service-only facilities across the UK, although these locations have yet to be announced.
Globally, Grenadier owners will be able to have their car repaired and maintained at some 10,000 Bosch outlets in 150 counties.
Outside of the UK, Ineos is exploring the possibility for BMW technicians to service the Grenadier, which is available with a choice of BMW straight-six petrol and diesel engines.
Pearson previously explained that the Grenadier's predominantly built-to-order production model means the company won't be "proactively building stock", because customers "will want to do their own thing". He suggested that lead times will be in line with what is "typical" of other manufacturers.
He also told Autocar that although Ineos is "not insulated" from the ongoing global semiconductor shortage, it has factored in any potential delays that might arise from the situation and is "very happy" that it will meet its proposed deadlines.
As for future powertrain options, Ineos remains committed to a simple petrol-and-diesel offering from launch. Pearson suggested that although "electric technology has moved on hugely in the last few years", an EV drivetrain wouldn't yet be compatible with the weight, functionality and intended use case of the Grenadier.
Ineos does, however, have a fuel cell development partnership in place with Hyundai, which Pearson said has "no marketing spin around it". Ineos, he said, "wants to be at the forefront of developing the hydrogen economy".
Ineos is primarily a chemical engineering firm, producing 300,000 tonnes of hydrogen per year, and is engaged in a project to develop Europe's "clean hydrogen" network.