Jim Ratcliffe’s Ineos set to make Land Rover Defender a rival in France

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Hopes that billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s new 4 × 4 could be built in the UK are fading after his company Ineos makes a formal offer to buy a car factory in France.Ineos’ automotive division has made a formal offer to Mercedes-Benz owner Daimler to purchase the Hambach plant in northeastern France, which produces smart cars.

Sir Jim had previously spoken of building the Grenadier in the UK “if the economy makes sense” and revealed plans for a vehicle assembly plant in South Wales that would create 500 jobs.

The Welsh government had started clearing land in Bridgend for the facility which hoped to produce what Ineos touted as the ‘spiritual successor’ to the Land Rover Defender.

Another sub-assembly plant was planned for Portugal, providing roughly the same number of jobs.

However, it emerged last month that Ineos, which has invested around £ 1 billion in the Grenadier, was in talks with Daimler to take over its factory near the border with Germany.

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