Brexit-backing billionaire moves new vehicle production to France
The UK's fifth-richest man previously said manufacturing would take place in Wales.
Jim Ratcliffe, owner of petrochemical behemoth Ineos, a vocal proponent of Brexit and recent resident of tax-free Monaco, has gone back on plans to build an heir to the Land Rover defender in the UK - instead basing production in the EU.
The Ineos 'Grenadier', named after a pub next to Buckingham Palace where Sir Jim had his Eureka! moment (no, not to relocate his multi-billion pound wealth to a zero tax principality), will be built in France.
Billionaire Ratcliffe, estimated total worth £12bn, last year said the vehicle would be made in Bridgend and create 500 jobs. “We have looked long and hard at possible manufacturing locations for Grenadier across the world with lots of good options to choose from," he said.
"The decision to build in the UK is a significant expression of confidence in British manufacturing, which has always been at the heart of what Ineos stands for."
Less than a year later and it was confirmed production would instead be based in a former Mercedes-Benz factory in Hambach, France, which presents a "unique opportunity."
The new 4x4 will now "combine rugged British spirit and design with German engineering rigour," Sir Jim said. Production starts in late 2021.
That Brexit is clearly a major factor at play is a bitter pill to swallow. Ineos owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe was a vocal Brexiteer, loudly proclaiming the benefits of leaving the EU. Today, we can see his claims are as hollow as his promises. 2/2
— Chris Elmore MP (@CPJElmore) December 8, 2020
Bridgend's MP Chris Elmore said, responding to the news: "The highly-skilled and dedicated workforce in Ogmore, Bridgend and surrounding areas would have risen to the challenge.
"That Brexit is clearly a major factor at play is a bitter pill to swallow. Ineos owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe was a vocal Brexiteer, loudly proclaiming the benefits of leaving the EU. Today, we can see his claims are as hollow as his promises."