Ineos confirms Mercedes factory acquisition
New Grenadier will be built alongside Smart models in Germany
By Sam Sheehan / Tuesday, December 8, 2020
Ineos has taken its most significant step yet towards Grenadier production with the acquisition of a high-tech production facility in Germany, near the French border. The former Mercedes-Benz site – bought for an undisclosed sum – currently builds Smart EV models, but it is said to be ready for ‘large’ vehicle manufacturing. Ineos will continue to produce Smart’s EQ fortwo at the facility under contract with Mercedes, further strengthening ties between the two brands and presumably providing it with an additional revenue stream.
The agreement – which takes place nine months since Ineos confirmed its partnership with Mercedes-AMG’s F1 team, and five months since the Grenadiar was digitally unveiled – is set to create 1,300 new jobs. Ineos said the deal means its 4×4 is on course to arrive on roads at the start of 2022, with the Hambach site set to start production at the end of next year. Group chairman, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, added that “Hambach presented [the firm] with a unique opportunity that [it] simply could not ignore: to buy a modern automotive manufacturing facility with a world-class workforce.”
Ineos CEO, Dirk Heilmann, reckons that the Hambach site represents the company’s “biggest milestone yet in the development of the Grenadier”. He said that preparations are underway “to build [the] 4×4 from late next year for delivery to customers around the globe.”
It’s not yet clear how existing deals with the likes of production specialist Magna Steyr will be affected. The Austrian firm – which knows a serious amount about building genuine off-roaders – has been helping with development of the BMW-powered Grenadiar, and earlier plans suggested the finished machine would be made at a purpose-built plant in Bridgend. At that stage, Ineos said it intended to make 25,000 units per year. It’s possible that the Hambach plant’s larger capacity could see that number increase.
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