A tycoon who made his fortune in chemicals plans to revive Land Rover’s iconic Defender, and has reportedly held talks with senior executive at Jaguar Land Rover.
Jim Ratcliffe, founder of Ineos, is reportedly worth £3.2bn. The prospective venture into vehicles is the latest example of his ambition to remake industries beyond chemicals, claims The Times newspaper.
Production of the Defender was brought to a close in January this year, following 67-years of the iconic 4-wheel-drive.
During this time, Jaguar Land Rover’s Solihull plant churned out more than two million Defenders. However, with rivals producing flashier, more fuel-efficient offerings, the Defender was reduced to a practical, niche option.
Production was eventually ceased when JLR, which is owned by India’s Tata Motors, claimed it could no longer meet strict emissions regulations.
Ratcliffe’s exact intentions toward the model are unknown, however he is said to be planning for the Defender to be built in Britain. Whether this be by buying just the intellectual property or parts of the production line will no doubt be revealed at a later point.
He reportedly purchased one of the last Defenders to roll of the production line, and is a known enthusiast of the rugged brand.
Meanwhile, the manufacturer has itself pledged to produce a ‘new’ Defender, however unlike Ratcliffe’s intended revamp, it promises to be very different from the original.
“Defender will always be Land Rover’s icon,” the company commented.
After completing his university studies in English and Creative Writing in Cardiff, Jack is now a full time motoring writer at Blackball Media. His love of cars stems from his childhood years when he began to live and breathe all-things automotive.
July 11, 2016