Sep 20, 2019

Why Ratcliffe’s reborn Land Rover faces uphill climb

The billionaire founder of chemicals giant Ineos decided to resurrect the Land Rover Defender - a classic four-wheel drive off-roader based on the original 1948 model, a reliable workhorse favoured by farmers and army battalions, with the Queen among its fans. Conceived two years ago, takes the Ineos boss into one of the most competitive global industries - an uphill struggle even in normal conditions - at a moment when it is being shaken up by technological disruption. "Ineos is a British company and the desire was always to build in the UK. The commercials had to make sense though. It wasn't going to be done on a whim," said Mark Tennant, commercial director at Ineos Automotive. Engineering work has been done by MBTech, an offshoot of Mercedes-Benz, in Germany; the body and chassis will come from a new factory Ineos is building in Portugal; while BMW will supply engines from Austria. While Jaguar Land Rover sends painted car parts from the UK to small assembly plants in India and Brazil, the practice is unorthodox.

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