The INEOS Grenadier hasn't enjoyed the smoothest gestation, it's fair to say. Of course, it was never likely to; the firm might have enjoyed the backing of one of the nation's wealthiest men, but it still had to build a functioning car company around the let's-replace-the-Defender idea reputedly hatched in a pub. No easy job, at any scale. And even more difficult when you want to produce a respectable annual volume and sell to punters through a proper dealership network.
Well, following an encouraging prototype drive back in February, INEOS has taken another step toward realising its lofty ambitions. Not only has it announced the 24 partner dealers that will operate the initial retail sites, it has confirmed that the first of them will be up and running in June. The manufacturer has spread its net wide, too: the intention is for the 'majority' of UK customers to be within 45 minutes of an official outlet - and the network spans dealer groups, 4X4 specialists and (as it promised) sellers of agricultural equipment.
"We have 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, Head of UK and MENA for INEOS Automotive. "They understand 4X4 users and their requirements, and have a proven track record for exceptional customer service. Together with these partners, we look forward to providing Grenadier customers with the advice, guidance and support they need." Familiar names include Bowker of Ribble Valley, Chandlers in Belton and Horncastle, as well as Day's in Neath and Jardine in Colchester and Sevenoaks.
It's not just the domestic market being targeted either. The 24 retail locations are among 160 sales and service points confirmed globally. By the end of 2022, INEOS plans to have 200 outlets. Its sudden urgency is not without good reason: by the end of April, the firm says it will finalise the technical specifications and pricing for the standard 'Station Wagon' and the two-seat 'Utility' variant. In May the order books fully open, with the first deliveries due before the end of the year. All being well, of course.
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