By on February 15, 2017

Land Rover Defender (wikimedia commons)

Last year, we reported on how British chemical company Ineos had approached Land Rover, asking for permission to build a copy of its now-deceased Defender. Land Rover responded unequivocally, stating, “There is no way this is happening.”

Hold on, not so fast there.

Seemingly unfazed by Land Rover’s rejection, Ineos founder Jim Ratcliffe was very positive when speaking to Autocar in 2016:

“I am a great admirer of the Land Rover Defender and I think it can be upgraded to be the world’s best and most rugged off-roader.”

In a recent Autocar report, however, Ineos has seemingly changed tack. The company has now relayed a vision for a Defender-inspired vehicle, featuring a diesel, hybrid, or possibly all-electric powertrain. The current production date target is 2020, with volume projected at 15,000 units per year.

According to Ineos director Tom Crotty, the inspired new SUV will have a traditional chassis and be fairly low-tech. Crotty also explained, “[The model] will be extremely high quality and extremely reliable.” (Perhaps Ineos didn’t go quite so Defender-inspired, after all.)

Between now and the 2020 production date, Ineos needs to develop and finalize a design, as well as build a brand-new factory.

As the Jeep Wrangler proves year after year, there’s certainly a market for a rugged, simplistic off-road vehicle. Ineos plans to market the new SUV to the United States, Europe, and sub-Saharan Africa. An estimated price starting at £25,000 (just over $31,000 U.S. dollars as of writing) would seem within reach for many consumers seeking a simple vehicle for serious off road use.

Watch this space for further developments from Ineos, as it seem to have quite an uphill climb between now and 2020.

[Image: Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)]

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28 Comments on “British Chemical Company Proceeding with ‘Defender-inspired’ Ride...”

  • avatar

    A.) How could you possibly build it for that price?

    B.) If Land Rover said “No effin’ way.” How can it be built without Ineos being sued out of existence?

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      Because INSPIRED!

    • 0 avatar
      Eric M

      A) If they take an off-the-shelf drivetrain from somewhere the $30k is low, but might not be crazy. Think of a stripped down off-road spec with vinyl seats/top, no carpet, no airbags, etc.

      B) Because patents (even design patents) only last 20 years. So they could take the Defender design from 1997 and copy it directly. Changing the design enough to get around copyright (to creative parts of the design) is trivial.

      • 0 avatar

        Thank you Eric.

        Here’s hoping for vinyl seats, steel wheels, rubber floors, manual 4wd/trans/accessories, diesel engine, solid axle front/rear.

        Build it, they will come. Offering a wide variety of powertrain combinations is brilliant.

      • 0 avatar

        If they leave out airbags etc, then it would be off-road only, ne? That would seem to restrict its market considerably. It probably doesn’t need to be a good daily driver, but it should be something which can go between home and off-road areas without needing a trailer and tow vehicle.

        • 0 avatar
          Corey Lewis

          But then you couldn’t sell it as a passenger car in the US, and then it’s a too-expensive toy. That wouldn’t work.

        • 0 avatar

          I don’t think airbags are required in the UK. They may also be able to sell 325 a year here thru the small volume exemption.

        • 0 avatar

          I doubt the kind of popcan thickness and weight superstructure that made the Defender such a “great” off roader, would pass too many contemporary crash tests to begin with. The bet may be that the Defender appeals to enough people with clout, to fudge things on the back of Brexiting national pride…

          Anyway, modern Defender heirs needs to be made for Africa and/or thereabouts. In thereabouts. By people who daily drive thereabouts. Currently working British auto engineers and workers, no longer have even a vague memory of having colonies in places where such cars may make sense.

      • 0 avatar

        They won’t be able to use the Defender name.

  • avatar


    Look at those gorgeous sidewalls.

  • avatar

    An SUV with skinny sidewalls is no SUV.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    It seems like a few cosmetic changes could bring this proposed new vehicle out of “infringing on trade dress” jeopardy. All of these vehicles, the Defender, the Wranger, and the Toyota FJ 40 Land Cruiser have exterior designs that are almost purely functional.

    The bigger question is how much regulatory requirements will drive up the vehicle cost to the point where a small volume competitor (lacking access to a large volume manufacturer’s parts bin) can meet a reasonable price point.

    The other question is how much unfilled demand is there for such a vehicle. The current Toyota Land Crusher isn’t anything like its FJ40 ancestor.

  • avatar

    Calling ICON 4×4! Calling ICON 4×4! You are needed in the lobby…

    They do FJ40 rebuilds and upgrades, as well as Bronco and custom jobs. I would imagine they could be the perfect candidates to take existing “pre-owned” Defenders and make them into darned near anything. Could they ship them legally to GB?

    Disclaimer:: I spend a lot of time drooling at their Instagram feed. If only I had written an app…there’s always Vegas?

  • avatar

    They should call Sergio and get the tooling for the Iveco Massif.

  • avatar

    Land Rover planning on releasing a redesign Defender in 2019! Suppose to at the high end expensive! Same price as the Range Rover is!

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