Automotive start-up Ineos revved up for Africa
Company founded by UK billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe spots gap left by Land Rover’s decision to discontinue its Defender
Ineos Automotive has big plans for Africa, aiming to compete with long-established brands in the SUV and bakkie marketplace, such as Toyota and Ford.
Ineos’s first car, the Grenadier SUV, was launched earlier this year.
Speaking at the opening of the Ineos Automotive African headquarters at the Waterfront in Cape Town last week, Ineos Automotive CEO Lynn Calder said the automotive start-up is aware of the scale of the challenge. The seven-year-old company was started by Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the billionaire founder of chemicals conglomerate Ineos.
“We’re in 40 countries ... and we’ll learn as we go. We’ve got the expertise and the know-how to make it work,” Calder told Business Day. “Africa is very important to us. It was part of the original vision of the company.”
George Ratcliffe, commercial director of Ineos Automotive, added that “the DNA of the Grenadier started in Africa”. Land Rover’s decision to discontinue the original Defender had created a “gap in the market that wasn’t being filled by anyone for a really reliable, capable off-roader”.
“The original concept started as a gap in the that market for that type of vehicle in Africa, and if it works in Africa it will work elsewhere,” he said.
The brand’s Sub-Saharan Africa lead, Tim Abbott, said the company employs 24 people in SA at its new head office and at three dealerships in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Umhlanga.
Calder added that Ineos Automotive is developing an all-new electric SUV and has developed a Grenadier with a hydrogen fuel cell drivetrain, though diesel and petrol options would remain the focus for the SA market.
Western Cape Premier Alan Winde welcomed the opening of an automotive head office in the Western Cape, and invited Ineos to consider the province as a manufacturing location for the future.
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