How Lynn Calder took Ineos from tough beginnings to success

Calder believes there is no other car like the Grenadier available and the firm has found a niche, creating “a quality vehicle that people really respect” and one that’s far more sophisticated than a Defender ever was.

After a year of largely selling cars to converted 4×4 enthusiasts, Ineos is now tapping into more of a lifestyle market and will soon launch in China after setting up already in Europe, America, Asia and the Middle East. Longer term, when the brand is established with a planned four product lines and variants, the goal is around 250,000-300,000 units per year.

Ineos has had its eyes opened by the sheer depth and scale of legislation in the automotive sector, and the cost and complexity that brings. Calder says: “We’re no strangers to heavily regulated industries – running highly complex chemical processing plants is as heavily regulated as you would imagine – yet you can’t stand still in automotive for a split second. We sell cars in 45 countries and need to be compliant.

Each of these countries has different requirements. You’ve got emissions, safety, cybersecurity and being unhackable. We’re on top of it – we have no choice – but it’s extremely complex, expensive and also important. As a new player coming in, it’s a big challenge.”

Ineos has been vocal in its criticism of the subset of legislators who have backed battery-electric as the sole power source of the future. It believes EVs can never be right for every scenario and thinks their decision will stifle innovation in other areas. This move has made it hard to run a business and plan accordingly.

“There is a lack of certainty in the sector at the moment. There is not a minute it stands still from a regulatory perspective,” says Calder. “With everything that’s gone on for the last five or so years, everybody has completely lost sight of the driver, whether that be the government or indeed even the automotive industry.

“The automotive industry has just been running to stay on the hamster wheel to keep up with what governments are regulating so that we can still sell cars. At no point has someone said: what are people using the cars for? What are their mobility needs? Instead of just saying: here’s one technology; let’s think actually about what the driver needs. Drivers are voters and they’re voting with their feet right now. We’re prepared to adopt electric cars to a point because there are things we can use them for, but now we’re saturated and we need something else. There’s a gap, so if you’re going to take away combustion engines, what is going to fill that gap?”

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