British billionaire Sir James Ratcliffe has entered the Kenyan car market with the appointment of a dealer that will distribute a 4×4 utility vehicle Grenadier which resembles the classic Land Rover Defender.
INEOS Automotive, owned by the businessman who funded Eliud Kipchoge’s 2019 special marathon, has appointed Wooton Automotive to sell the newly developed vehicles in the local market on an exclusive basis.
“We have worked tirelessly for over a year to find retail partners that share our enthusiasm and excitement for the Grenadier,” Tim Abbott, the head of South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa at INEOS Automotive, said in a statement.
“They understand 4X4 users and their requirements and have a proven track record for exceptional customer service. Together with our regional partners, we look forward to providing Grenadier customers with the advice, guidance and support they need.”
The company said technical specifications and indicative pricing for the INEOS Grenadier in Kenya will be confirmed by the end of April, with order books opening in May.
The INEOS Grenadier will have automatic transmission and will be powered by three-litre diesel or petrol engines manufactured by German automaker BMW.
UK media say a five-seater version of the car could be priced from £55,000 (Sh8 million). The price is expected to be higher in Kenya due to import duty, at 25 percent, and other taxes.
Prices of the new Land Rover Defender, sold by Inchcape Kenya, can top the Sh20 million mark.
Data from the Kenya Motor Industry Association shows that a total of 17 Land Rover Defenders were sold last year.
The new generation of the British car brand has more technology and luxury features compared to its predecessor whose production ended in 2016 partly due to stricter emissions standards in Europe.
Sir Ratcliffe, who has a $16 billion net worth, according to Forbes, started the process of bringing the INEOS Grenadier to the market in 2017. He said the car will fill a gap left by other car manufacturers.
INEOS Automotive describes the vehicle as a reliable 4×4 suitable for tackling off-road conditions.
The appointment of Wooton Automotive is part of INEOS Automotive’s plan to have a network of 200 sales and service sites for the Grenadier spanning over 50 countries, including established dealer groups, 4X4 specialists and agricultural equipment dealers.
INEOS Automotive is a subsidiary of INEOS Group, a leading manufacturer of petrochemicals, specialty chemicals, and oil products. In 2019, INEOS had sales of about $61 billion.