Ineos Automotive has announced that it will build its Grenadier 4x4 in Bridgend, South Wales, near to the site of the soon-to-be-closed Ford factory. It’ll create up to 500 jobs in the process.
“We have been looking at the locations for quite some time in Europe and beyond,” said CEO Dirk Heilmann.
“But we made the decision to build from scratch so that we could create an environment that is fit-for-purpose for our product. We had decided that even before Ford announced the Bridgend closure, but we will certainly have a look at former Ford employees.”
Ford announced earlier this year that its Engine Plant in South Wales would close in 2020, putting the jobs of the 1,700 employees at risk. The news of Ineos’ arrival and £600m investment will provide a welcome boost to the area, though, and work has already started on the new facility.
“We’ve broken ground,” said Mark Tennant, Commercial Director of Ineos Automotive. “We’ve got lots of diggers running about because we’re looking to bring the Grenadier to market in 2021. What we’ve always said, from Jim Ratcliffe’s comments right at the beginning, is that Ineos is a British company and so the desire was always to build in the UK.”
Ratcliffe is the founder and chairman of the chemical and energy giant Ineos, and it was he who decided that there was a market for a new, uncompromising and utilitarian 4x4. Previously known as Projekt Grenadier, Ineos has since put the name to a public vote. The result was overwhelming in favour of keeping the original moniker that referenced the pub where Ratcliffe first came up with the idea.
Alongside the Bridgend announcement, Ineos also revealed that it was making a parallel investment in a sub-assembly factory in Portugal, creating a further 500 jobs there.
“What we will be taking from Portugal are frames and body components. They will then come in to Bridgend for assembly, alongside BMW engines from Austria and all other components - wherever they might be sourced from,” said Tennant.
Some good news for British jobs, then. Want to know more about the Grenadier?
STORY Greg Potts