Belfast Telegraph

Ineos confirms plans to create vehicle in style of Land Rover Defender

Energy giant Ineos has confirmed plans to build a new 4x4 off road car in a multi-million pound investment which will create new jobs.

The company has completed a six-month feasibility study, saying the new vehicle will be inspired by Land Rover's Defender model.

Ineos chairman Jim Ratcliffe, who drives a Defender, said: "I am a great admirer of the old Land Rover Defender and have enormous respect for its off road capability.

"Our new 4x4 has been inspired by it.

"But whilst our off-roader might share its spirit, our new car will be a major improvement on previous models."

Ineos said the car will ideally be built in the UK and could create hundreds of jobs.

The firm said it expects to spend hundreds of millions of pounds on the project, which it believes will fill a gap in the market.

The project will be run by Dirk Heilmann, formerly head of engineering and technology at Ineos, who is now chief executive at Ineos automotive.

Mr Heilmann, who has already started recruiting staff, said: "This is an amazing project for everyone involved.

"Our job is to create the world's best 4x4 and we are already moving forward with our plans."

Ineos spokesman Tom Crotty said the company had a preference to build the car in the north of England, but no final decision had yet been made.

The aim is to have cars coming off the production line by 2020, for sale across the world.

"We will be looking for global sales, so we need to make sure the car meets all international regulations," he told the Press Association.

Up to 20,000 Defenders were built a year until Jaguar Land Rover ended production just over a year ago at its Solihull plant in the West Midlands.

The Defender name was introduced in 1990 and more than two million were built.

Jaguar Land Rover has announced plans to build a replacement Defender.