The new Grenadier off-roader from British chemicals giant Ineos may end up being built at the Daimler-owned plant in Hambach, France, currently responsible for the Smart Fortwo minicar.
With future Smarts to be built in China by a joint venture between Daimler and Geely, Daimler said last week the Hambach plant, which employs 1,600 staff, will be put up for sale to reduce capacity in Europe.
Ineos in a statement Tuesday said it is among the parties in talks to buy the site.
Smart plant in Hambach, France
Ineos planned to build its own plant in Bridgend, Wales, for the Grenadier, as well as a separate site in Estarreja, Portugal, dedicated to chassis and body production. However, in its statement, the company said it suspended work at both sites pending the outcome of talks with Daimler over the future of the Hambach plant.
Ineos revealed the Grenadier earlier in July. The vehicle is a rugged, body-on-frame design with both SUV and pickup truck body styles planned. Prototypes are currently testing ahead of a targeted start of production in late 2021.
For Ineos, the aim is to sell the vehicle worldwide, which means we could potentially see it in the United States. The company has said pricing will depend on how many orders it secures but has hinted at a starting price of less than $65,000.