Ineos Automotive, a subsidiary of British chemicals company Ineos, appears to be close to a deal to build its new 4x4 in Bridgend, Wales, next to the soon-to-close Ford factory.
The company's boss, billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe, has reportedly been interested in the site for some time. Now Welsh economy minister Ken Skates has told BBC Radio Wales that talks are "very advanced" between the Welsh government and the newly established car maker.
Reports suggest that rather than use Ford's existing production facility, as previously considered, Ineos would build its own plant close by. If it goes ahead, the new facility could bring hundreds of new jobs to an area set to be badly affected by Ford's decision to close its engine plant next year.
Ineos's upcoming challenger to the iconic Defender is being developed in partnership with German engineering firm MBtech, which is part-owned by Mercedes-Benz.
The technical tie-up will involve MBtech allocating 200 full-time engineers to the project from its Stuttgart base. Ineos Automotive CEO Dirk Heilmann says the deal will "bring together German engineering and British design and entrepreneurship". MBtech will be tasked with "working up" the exact specifications of the vehicle to ensure that it is a "truly rugged, reliable and uncompromising 4x4".
MBtech was founded in 1995 as Mercedes-Benz Technologies, but the German car making giant sold a 65% share of the firm to AKKA Technologies in 2012. MBtech continues to work on multiple projects for Mercedes as well as with other car firms. Under the deal with Ineos, it will take the lead on overall vehicle development of the Grenadier, overseeing all components.