Ineos Automotive is to decide between Ford’s Bridgend plant in South Wales or a site in Portugal for the build of its Projekt Grenadier, a new uncompromising 4×4 intended as the ‘spiritual successor’ to the Land Rover Defender, albeit not directly related.
The company has already signed contracts with former Mercedes division MBTech for the engineering of the project, as well as Magna for the chassis, suspension and powertrain development.
Ineos boss Jim Ratcliffe has stressed a preference for building the car in the UK so long as it’s economically viable. Ford employs 1850 people at its Bridgend plant, but there have been concerns for its long-term future as it stops producing engines for JLR in 2020. There have also been problems with industrial relations at the factory and cost issues, but those supporting Bridgend’s bid for the work hope that Ineos has been convinced that the situation has improved at the site.
Working in the UK favour is corporation tax, which currently stands at a rate of 19 per cent and will be further reduced to 17 per cent by 2020, which compares with Portugal’s rate of 21 per cent. A decision by Ineos is expected soon.