INEOS Automotive displayed a production batch Grenadier Station Wagon at the FEINDEF 2023 defence expo in Madrid in mid-May, reports Bob Morrison.
The French-built INEOS Grenadier is neither a Land Rover nor a Jaguar Land Rover model, but as founder Sir Jim Ratcliffe conceived the vehicle from the outset as a replacement for the original ladder chassis Land Rover / Defender model, which went out of production in 2016, this niche section of the JOINT-FORCES website seems like the best place to put it… at least for now.
At the 2023 FEINDEF expo military light and medium utility vehicles were thinner on the ground than at the 2021 show, where the then new JLR New Defender was being promoted to the military, but as this year the Grenadier is very much the ‘new kid on the block’ I was not too surprised to see one there; albeit in civilian spec with no military add-ons.
At the Madrid show the INEOS military sales specialist informed me that the first production batch of around 400 customer vehicles had been delivered to the UK the previous week, after the comparatively minor but niggling international supply chain issue that had been slowing down manufacture had been resolved. A few days after I photographed this particular example, INEOS Grenadier HQ announced that over 3,500 vehicles had now been built with 1,500 already with their retail partners (dealers) around the globe and almost 500 customer hand-overs had been completed.
The Spanish Armed Forces are gearing up to replace some of their ageing military medium utility vehicle fleet, including the now over 15-year old Iveco-powered Santana Aníbal Militar 4×4 model which has reached the end of its original projected service life, and the Grenadier looks like an obvious contender. The Aníbal (Hannibal) Militar is itself also a Land Rover clone, though it evolved from the 1970s era leaf-sprung Series III (originally produced under licence in Linares) rather than the later coil-sprung One-Ten / Defender model.
Whether or not sufficient numbers of militarised medium utility vehicles are required by European armies to make producing specialist military versions of the Grenadier a feasible proposition remains to be seen, but with the vehicle now in bulk production it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that this modernised yet comparatively conventional 4×4 might just become a common sight in NATO Green in the not too distant future.