Ineos Automotive inicia la producción del Grenadier 4×4

Ineos Automotive ha alcanzado un hito significativo al comenzar la producción en serie del Grenadier 4X4 en sus instalaciones de Hambach (Francia).

in AutoRevista, 19-10-2022

“Hemos recorrido un largo camino desde que el proyecto comenzó en 2017 y es un momento histórico para Ineos Automotive como fabricante de vehículos”, afirmó Mark Tennant, director Comercial de Ineos Automotive. “Llegar a este punto es un testimonio de la resiliencia y el arduo trabajo de todo el equipo de Ineos Automotive, nuestros socios de desarrollo y nuestros proveedores, lo que les agradecemos a todos, ya que ahora esperamos hacer nuestras primeras entregas a los clientes”.

El problema de la cadena de suministro global continúa limitando la producción, pero las entregas a clientes se estima que comenzarán a partir de los primeros días de diciembre. Se realizarán a través de la red de Ineos Automotive, que cuenta con más de 200 puntos de venta y servicio en todo el mundo.


Las entregas a clientes comenzarán en diciembre. Foto: Ineos



Pele da Couro Azul equipará INEOS Grenadier

A Couro Azul foi nomeada para o fornecimento de couro para os interiores do novo INEOS Grenadier.

in Couro Azul, 13-05-2022

A produção em série deste modelo arranca este Verão na fábrica da INEOS em Hambach, França.

A pele, produzida na fábrica de Alcanena, será aplicada no volante, bancos e painéis de porta.

Desde 2020 que a equipa da Couro Azul tem vindo a desenvolver este projeto em estreita colaboração com a INEOS Automotive, contribuindo com a sua longa experiência em interiores automóveis para a conceção e desenvolvimento deste novo veículo.


Ineos prepara-se para a produção

Ineos prepares for production

As Ineos moves towards a second phase of prototypes for production, AMS visited the company’s new automotive manufacturing plant in Hambach, France to see how production of its Grenadier 4×4 is developing ahead of series production launch in August.

in Automotive Manufacturing Solutions, by Mark Smyt, 10-03-2022

In 2020, newly formed Ineos Automotive, owned by British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe, was planning to build a new manufacturing facility in Wales to assemble its first vehicle, the Grenadier 4×4. Then in December of that year it surprised everyone by announcing it was buying Daimler’s plant in Hambach, France that makes electric Smart cars.

Ratcliffe stated at the time that the opportunity to acquire the Smart plant was “a unique opportunity that we simply could not ignore.” Just a year before in 2019 Daimler had invested €470m ($526m) in upgrading the plant, which produces electric versions of the Smart ForTwo. The purchase was part of a €1 billion investment to develop and manufacture the Grenadier and so far, Ineos has invested €50m into the Hambach plant.

The Grenadier is the vision of Ratcliffe, who decided to build his own luxury utility vehicle after Jaguar Land Rover ceased production of the original Land Rover Defender. Named after a London pub, the project has taken a number of years to reach the point of production, not least of all because of various court cases that had to be settled.

INEOS Automotive - Hambach General Assembly 1-2

Ineos has so far built 130, PTO1 pre-production models at Hambach

While the very first prototypes were built by Magna, Ineos has been building its own PTO1 pre-production models at Hambach. In total 130 have been made, with the second phase of PTO2 prototype builds due to begin in May ahead of full series production commencing in August 2022.

The Hambach plant also has the accolade of being carbon neutral. It has its own waste recovery and treatment plants as well as a biological treatment plant. In addition, biodiversity measures have been put in place throughout the site.

AMS was one of the first publications to drive the Grenadier, but we were also given the opportunity to take a look around the new production facility that sits close to the French and German border.

Philippe Steyer is the head of the Hambach plant and he explained to us that there is a fully automated bodyshop containing 150 robots, a new semi-automated paintshop and a new quality assessment centre. In total there are 1,000 employees on site, and they have already undergone 20,000 hours of training, although this will increase to 80,000 hours by the time series production begins.

Steyer is keen to point out how unique the layout of the general assembly area is. It forms a cross in the middle of the facility which he says enhances logistics.

“We are talking about a line which is more than one kilometer long and the reason why it is in a cross shape is for optimised logistics, really to bring the parts as close to the production line as possible, which is quite unique,” he says.

INEOS Automotive - Hambach General Assembly 5-2

Switching from making light city cars to the larger, heavier Grenadier required structural reinforcements to the overhead gantries and lifts

Upgrading for larger vehicles
Steven Wilkinson, manufacturing engineering lead for the bodyshop, told us that after taking over the plant from Daimler in 2020, significant upgrades had to be made to switch from making light city cars to the much larger and heavier Grenadier. Lots of structural reinforcement was needed on the line, especially when it came to overhead gantries and lifts to move vehicles across multiple storeys.

The main bodyshop was eerily quiet when we visited though, having completed work on the initial prototypes but when in operation 70% of the work in the bodyshop is automated with 80 robots installed. On the day, they were operating in ghost mode, going through their routines totally unaware that there were no components to work on.

It was busier in the paintshop, which spans four levels. Here Michael Schenzle, paintshop process and equipment lead, explained that it has taken six months to build the facility, which among other things uses bespoke Geico Takisha booths and equipment. A conveyor brings the body from the body-in-white to the paintshop where it undergoes eight pre-treatment stages.

Dürr robots apply the bulk of the 120m of PVC sealants, but some must be manually applied. In addition, a cavity wax application is required to prevent what Schenzle calls the “cavity rust that you used to get in older cars.”

Once the paint process is complete, the vehicles move into that unique general assembly cross. It’s not just the cross layout that is unusual either, the line has a laminate wood floor, something not seen since the Phaeton production line in Volkswagen’s Transparent Factory in Dresden.

Virtual modelling used to plan workstations
In total there are 133 workstations all of which Wilkinson told us were planned using virtual modelling. There are 200 workers on the line, who all have five minutes to conduct their tasks on each workstation. All these tasks are done by hand, with only one robot used for attaching the beading to the glazing.

INEOS Automotive - Hambach Quality Laboratory 2-2

The quality testing centre contains Zeiss Pro T machines which can take 1000 measurements on a vehicle over seven hours

We weren’t able to see the end of line area, possibly because at this point the Grenadiers are joined by the Smart car, but we did get a look around the brand-new quality testing centre. Here everything can be checked, from a single component pulled off the assembly line to a complete vehicle. One complete set of components is measured every week and the centre contains Zeiss Pro T machines which can take 1000 measurements on a vehicle over seven hours.

However, Stefan Bruhnke, the company’s quality director, explains that they need to go beyond the usual quality checks.

“We are completely aware that as a new player in automotive, we have to deliver best in class quality,” he told us. One of the ways Ineos aims to achieve this level is through four quality control loops: Workstation, Production Zone, Product Validation and ultimately, the Customer.

The quality team will also completely strip a vehicle to assess every element from construction to components. This includes robots that look like crash scene jaws of life tools which force welds to the point of destruction. In total, the quality engineers can take up to three weeks to thoroughly check an entire vehicle.

With the initial prototypes completed, the plant is now preparing to enter phase two, where the PTO2 prototype builds will be more about testing the manufacturing process.

“Phase two starts in May, which is really to prove out the manufacturing process properly,” Mark Tennant, commercial director at Ineos Automotive told us. “So, starting to move towards the right cycle times, but still leaving gaps as we tweak the equipment. Then we can adjust the manufacturing process to take on the learning as we get more used to building the vehicles.”

Mark Tennant - Commercial Director, INEOS Automotive

“Phase two starts in May, which is really to prove out the manufacturing process properly” Mark Tennant – Ineos Automotive

Following those, the plant will build the final PTO3 models, which Tennant says will be saleable vehicles although, they most will be used as demonstrators for the global network of dealers and sales agents. Full series production will begin in August, initially to get through the existing book of 15,000 orders, and then to ramp up production to capacity.

Ineos will carefully manage any increases in production volume
“We’re planning on 25,000 to 30,000 a year when we get up to peak,” he told us. “We can build more, that’s on a two-shift pattern. On three shifts, we could do 50,000, but we’ve said from the beginning, this is a niche proposition, we’re not taking on the big boys. What we’ve said is there’s a white space in this market because a number of other vehicles that used to inhabit it have departed and we need to have a business case that works on niche numbers. Obviously, we’ll be thrilled if we start having discussions about needing a third shift, that’s great but it’s not something you put in the business plan from day one.”

All these plans, Tennant says, are predicated on everything going well in both the engineering of the vehicles themselves and the production facilities.

“We only get one chance to make a good first impression. New brand, new products, it’s got to be right, the engineering has got to be right,” he said.

There is still a great deal of work to be done. The prototype vehicle we drove in a disused quarry was lacking many trim elements and had software glitches, but that’s all to be expected in a prototype vehicle. What it and the production facility in Hambach showed though, is that Ineos and its people have a very strong commitment to getting it right. That was evident in the standards within the plant, the investment in technology, the dedication to processes and the vehicle we eventually drove.

It might seem like Ratcliffe and his team took the easy way by buying up the Hambach plant, but for now at least it seems like it was a smart decision.

A Smart decision

INEOS Automotive - Hambach from above

Since its purchase of the plant in 2020 Ineos has invested €50m into the Hambach facility

The Hambach plant first opened in 1997 and the site covers 82 hectares, with 210,000 sq.m of buildings and a dedicated test track. More than 2.5m cars have been manufactured at the site, starting with the first generation of the Smart ForTwo, the BR450 from 1998 to 2006 as well as the Smart Roadster. Since 2017 it has been producing the fully electric Smart ForTwo which Ineos Automotive will continue to manufacture under contract to Daimler until at least 2024, with production running at around 70,000 cars each year.

The main production lines for both Smart and the Ineos Grenadier are completely separate, but at the end of the lines, the Smart cars meet the Grenadiers where end of line testing and quality control are in shared areas. Interestingly, Magna continues to be contracted to do the bodyshop work before then handing the Smart cars over to what are now Ineos Automotive employees at the general assembly stage.

Ineos is also manufacturing the front end for the Mercedes-Benz EQA and EQB models at the Hambach plant and is contracted to do so until 2026.


A hydrogen future for the Grenadier?

The Hambach plant has a capacity of around 35,000 vehicles a year, but the intention is that these will not all be the station wagon and commercial vehicle versions. The company has already announced it plans to make a double-cab pick-up of the Grenadier and while executives declined to confirm it, there is scope for a short wheelbase model in the same style as the original Defender 90.

Then there are the alternative powertrains to the existing BMW B57 diesel and B58 petrol engines being used. Ineos is a significant producer of hydrogen, creating around 400,000 tonnes per year and it has initially said it will develop a hydrogen fuel cell solution rather than going hybrid or electric, although executives are not ruling out electrification if it can cope with the weight of the vehicle. Hydrogen prototypes are already being developed and will use a fuel cell stack system from Hyundai, but talks are underway with various suppliers for series production.

The main reason for choosing hydrogen is the distances the vehicles may have to travel in many markets around the world. Hydrogen is being seen as a solution for emerging markets not just in transport but also to power homes and businesses and Ineos says its Grenadier can then be part of a hydrogen economy.


ForTwo to 4×4: How Smart factory became home to Ineos Grenadier

In 12 months of hard graft, Ineos has upgraded Smart’s Hambach factory for production of its Grenadier off-roader. We drop by

in Autocar, by Richard Lane,  26-02-2022

Things can happen fast in the car industry, but rarely do they happen this fast.

You’ve probably heard the story by now. In 2016, rueing the demise of the Land Rover Defender and Jaguar Land Rover’s decision to replace it with something more haute-automotive, chemical engineering billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe, while in the pub, sketches the outline of a ‘spiritual successor’ to the famous off-roader.

The difference is that Ratcliffe isn’t dreaming. Four years later, the newly formed Ineos Automotive company had physical prototypes, an incipient manufacturing chain of command and, most importantly, somewhere to actually build the finished product. Just 18 months after that, in the here and now, it’s almost time to start full-scale production. And all this against the backdrop of you know what.

The factory is what cements Ineos as a serious entity and is why we’re now in eastern France, not far from Strasbourg. While the idea that Ineos was able to buy Mercedes-Benz’s Smart-manufacturing Hambach plant in December 2020 and simply begin building Grenadier off-roaders is a nice one, it’s also nonsense.

The factory’s 1000-strong workforce – the majority of whom are veterans, having stuck around since the initial Smartville staff intake of 1998 – is highly dependable. And the brand-new paint shop – which was part of a €470 million upgrade that Mercedes only recently lavished on the plant in anticipation of full-scale EQA and EQB electric crossover production and is where enormous emu-feather brushes sweep dust from freshly minted bodies – is state of the art.

The Grenadier will even use the same lines as the Smart cars, but therein lay the problem for Ineos’s manufacturing team when it gained the keys to the place (at the infamous expense of a much-anticipated new-build plant in Bridgend, South Wales). The Grenadier is five metres long and weighs 2600kg; attempting to build one – and, Ineos hopes, eventually more than 30,000 annually – on lines designed for something half as long and a third as heavy would result in carnage. So what exactly has happened to give this remote factory an unexpected new lease of life? Quite a bit. Ineos has already spent €50m on Hambach and is currently in the PT01 stage of its manufacturing plan. That stands for Production Try-out One, which is when the raw processes are put in place without any time constraints.

By now, explains industrialisation director Erik Torseke, most of the truly arduous work is done. In the bodyshop, where panels are spot- welded (4068 welds for the steel floor and shell, 368 for the aluminium doors and bonnet) and glued together, Mercedes’ 250 robots were removed, modified, then fitted with new heads before being put back into place.

That was some undertaking, but the fine-tuning is almost as taxing. Right now, many robots are running in ‘ghost mode’, where they eerily complete their task in mime. They will run through the motions tens of times, until the movements are perfectly calibrated, before any panels for customer cars are handled. Even before this, all 23 stations involved in the bodyshop assembly process – the entire floor, basically – have been computer modelled in 3D to nail the choreography.

The Grenadier bodies are then transferred via a sky tunnel to the building where the new paint shop resides. It’s uncomfortably warm, quite bright and, for now at least, superbly clean. The process here starts with corrosion protection, with PVC-based sealant applied by colossal robot arms that take a moment to measure up the squared-off, naked bodyshell but then attack it with fantastic precision, darting in and out of windows with centimetres to spare.

Some 3.7kg of sealant (about 120 metres’ worth) is applied in the 300 seconds a body spends at the station. Two base coats and a top coat later, it’s ready for the general assembly line in another area of the plant.

It’s in GA that most of the work to ready Hambach for Grenadier building has taken place. Achieving PT01 status in this part of the facility has involved removing, modifying and strengthening 75 overhead carriers. The fact that these will need to wield 2.6-tonne cars has also necessitated reinforcements to the building structure itself, particularly the roof.

The ‘skillet’ floor conveyors, adjustable through six heights so as to make the completed-byhand jobs of fitting the glass, interior and all other addenda easier for staff, have also been reinforced and enlarged. The stations that conduct the difficult eight-bolt operation of marrying the body and the chassis have been extensively modified. The chassis – an old-school ladder-frame design with beam axles from tractor specialist Carraro – has required an entirely new sub-assembly area.

Here, the six-cylinder BMW engine (diesel or petrol), ZF automatic gearbox and Tremec transfer case are fitted to the chassis. Naturally, drive is sent to all four wheels, and the Grenadier can be optionally fitted with electronically locking axle differentials. A centre differential, manually lockable via the low- range gearstick, comes as standard. Compared with an average Smart, the Grenadier’s rolling chassis is a monstrous, almost dystopian device.

In all, reaching PT01 included 23 simultaneous development projects taking place across all 133 assembly stations on the combined lines, with 20 suppliers involved, and it has all happened in the past 12 months.

Part of Ineos’s success has been to assemble a crack team of manufacturing experts. Torseke was a director at NEVS before joining Valmet Automotive, the Finnish firm that for years made the Boxster and Cayman for Porsche. CEO Philippe Steyer has worked in operational roles for Mercedes, often at Hambach, for 20 years. Stefan Bruhnke, who heads up quality control, is another ex-Mercedes man.

Inheriting cutting-edge kit meant originally for EQA production has also helped, and most likely it’s this (along with Hambach’s proximity to suppliers) that prompted Ineos to abandon Wales in favour of France.

While many of the factory’s processes in themselves are at the sharp end of modern mass-market manufacturing, the Grenadier remains a straight-forward prospect. By Torseke’s admission, the most advanced element of the construction is the casting that sits within the rear door, onto which the spare wheel is mounted. It’s an idea that Mercedes pioneered on the latest G-Class and makes the area more robust. The Grenadier is otherwise a rudimentary body-on-chassis affair, like the original Defender. The difference is that spot welding and particularly the automation of the bodyshop are a world away from the processes used to build the Defender, which even in 2016 – the final year of production – involved hammers and spanners to some extent.

The job now for Torseke and co is to push through to PT02, which will involve another 130 prototypes being built, on top of the 130 made during PT01. Vehicle development will also continue during this time, with 1.1 million miles anticipated.

It’s during PT02 that Hambach will accelerate to the operational speed necessary for the Grenadier venture to be commercial.

That 300-second cycle time will eventually become quite rigid. And after that? Then it’s time for customer cars, which should be in the hands of the first owners by September. What sort of people those customers will be and how they will choose to use their Hambach-made Grenadiers remains to be seen.

Daimler-Benz’s trailblazing €450 million Hambach plant opened in 1997. It was known as Smartville, because of the numerous suppliers that operated on site, resulting in exceptionally low vertical integration in the production.

Only around 10% of the total number of production steps were completed by Smart (30% is more typical in the car industry), but this approach worked because of that supplier proximity, with components delivered almost directly to the production line. It meant that Hambach could exploit the just-in-time manufacturing principle to maximum effect, and in some cases components were delivered just in sequence – that is, in the correct order for assembly, with customer- specification data shared outside of Smart.

Because the site has its own railway station, finished cars could be moved on almost immediately, too, so the level of dormant inventory at both ends of the production line was – and remains – minimal.



Primeiros Grenadiers de produção experimental estão a sair de fábrica

Os protótipos de produção que saem da linha de montagem na fábrica de Hambach da INEOS Automotive, assinalam a etapa final da transição da empresa da fase de “projeto” para a de fabricante de automóveis.

in AutoNews, 17-02-2022

Desde a aquisição de Hambach em janeiro de 2021, a INEOS investiu mais de €50 milhões numa novíssima linha de produção em acréscimo aos €470 milhões já investidos em 2019 pela Mercedes-Benz . A linha de produção agora dedicada ao Grenadier inclui uma secção de produção de carroçarias totalmente automatizada, uma secção de pintura semi-automatizada e uma instalação geral de montagem atualizada. Hambach também beneficia de um novo centro de montagem de alta tecnologia.

Tendo demorado apenas 12 meses a reconfigurar a nova linha para o Grenadier, a INEOS está perto do fim de uma primeira fase experimental de produção (PTO1). Construir 130 PTO1 Grenadiers é crucial para a definição do processo de montagem e também disponibiliza à equipa técnica, veículos representativos da produção para as fases finais dos ensaios e certificação.

A fase PTO2 inicia-se em março para validar o processo de montagem e a qualidade de construção, antes do lançamento da produção dos veículos de série, da validação da cadeia de abastecimento, da logística e da cadência de produção.

Em simultâneo, continuam a bom ritmo as preparações de todas as operações comerciais do negócio, para garantirem que a INEOS está pronta para os seus clientes. Mais de 100 parceiros comerciais e de assistência em todo o mundo foram nomeados e foram assinados contratos com parceiros para distribuição de peças e financiamento.

O preçário e as características técnicas finais serão anunciados em abril de 2022, a tempo dos clientes na Europa, África, Ásia-Pacífico e no Médio Oriente poderem finalizar as respetivas encomendas, diretamente online com a INEOS ou através dos concessionários locais. A América do Norte seguir-se-á nos finais do corrente ano.


Ineos plans 2022 Europe launch for Grenadier SUV

The company will initially offer a utilitarian version of the Land Rover Defender rival

in Automotive News Europe / Reuters, 29-09-2021

Ineos Automotive, a unit of the chemicals and energy giant Ineos, will launch a rugged off-road vehicle in Europe in 2022 and North America in 2023 for farmers and other primarily rural uses, the automaker said.

The company plans initially to launch with a utilitarian version of the Grenadier for business customers, which should make up the majority of sales of the four-wheel-drive vehicle, along with a more comfortable passenger version.

The vehicle will also launch in parts of Africa and the Middle East in 2022.

Ineos said it will sell the Grenadier through established dealer groups and 4X4 specialists, and also online.
It targets 200 outlets globally for start of sales in July 2022.

In the UK, Ineos plans to have 23 retail sites in operation ahead of launch, supplemented by Bosch aftersales outlets. Prices in UK for the Grenadier are expected to start at 48,000 pounds ($64,580), the company said.

The company has 15 sales outlets lined up in Germany for the launch date.

Ineos is also working on a pickup version of the Grenadier, which will be crucial for the North American market. In the U.S. market, pickups make up a sizeable and a highly profitable portion of total auto industry sales.

The boxy Grenadier will have gasoline and diesel engines supplied by BMW.

Production of the vehicle will launch in late 2021 at a former Daimler plant that builds Smart cars in Hambach, in northeastern France. Ineos acquired the factory from the German automaker last year.

Fuel cell tech

Gary Pearson, who heads up Ineos’s markets in the UK, Middle East and North Africa, said the combustion-engine technology the company is using is right for today’s market.

But with bans on fossil-fuel vehicles looming in Europe, the company is looking at hydrogen fuel cell technology for future zero-emissions versions of the Grenadier rather than going with battery power.

“As electric technology moves on, it may well become right for us,” Pearson said. “But today in terms of range, the weight of batteries… in a vehicle that needs to pull things, lift things, carry things, that is not necessarily right for us at the moment.”

An agreement between parent company Ineos and Hyundai to explore opportunities for hydrogen production and supply includes evaluating using the South Korean automaker’s fuel cell system in the Grenadier.


Automotive News Europe and Automobilwoche contributed to this report


Ineos will sell the Grenadier through established dealer groups and 4X4 specialists, and also online.


El Ineos Grenadier, desde el prototipo a la producción

Ineos sigue avanzando en el proceso que le llevara a entregar las primeras unidades de su todoterreno Grenadier a principios de 2022.

in AutoRevista, 17-02-2021

La compañía ha compartido un nuevo video en el que se detallan las rigurosas pruebas previas para garantizar que el modelo sea capaz de responder a todo aquello para lo que ha sido concebido. Antes de comenzar la producción en serie, desde la compañía señalan que más de 200 prototipos se llevarán al límite absoluto, de los que 80 son prototipos 2B fabricados por Magna Steyr en Graz (Austria).

Desde Ineos explican que “250 especialistas de Magna Steyr dedican hasta dos días de trabajo específico a cada vehículo, fabricando piezas individuales, soldando a mano y asegurando los más altos niveles de calidad en cada etapa del proceso. Eso incluye el ajuste de precisión de la totalidad del vehículo, desde el motor y la transmisión hasta la carrocería y el chasis”.

En la fase de prototipos, el Grenadier adquiere su aspecto absolutamente diferenciado  cuando el marco y la carrocería se unen. En esta etapa, se verifica hasta el último detalle. Cuando todos los componentes están instalados de forma segura, se realizan controles de calidad finales, al igual que en los vehículos de producción. El prototipo está listo para recorrer miles de kilómetros de pruebas y recopilación de datos en el mundo real.

Para la misión que ya constituye uno de los principales lemas de Ineos, que el Grenadier signifique “construir el todoterreno definitivo”, la compañía adquirió la factoría de Daimler en Hambach (Francia), donde se ha fabricado durante dos décadas y media el modelo smart. Ineos remarca que se trata de “una de las plantas más avanzadas del mundo con fuerza laboral altamente cualificada, se nos presentó una oportunidad comercial única” a la hora de elegirla como emplazamiento para la fabricación del Grenadier.

“Nuestra fábrica de Hambach se benefició recientemente de una inversión de 500 millones de euros por parte de Mercedes-Benz para permitir la producción de vehículos más grandes. Esta línea de producción de fácil adaptación permite a nuestros equipos de fabricación e ingeniería concentrarse exclusivamente en la calidad”, añaden fuentes de Ineos.


En la fabricación de piezas para los prototipos se busca el máximo grado de calidad.
Foto: Ineos


Multimilionário inglês vai criar 20 empregos em Gaia após desistir de fábrica em Estarreja | INEOS

A Ineos Automotive, de Jim Ratcliffe, vai duplicar a equipa de quadros em Portugal, que irá apoiar a chegada ao mercado do novo veículo Grenadier 4×4, cujo chassi e carroçaria iriam ser produzidos em Estarreja, num investimento de 300 milhões de euros, que foi suspenso em julho.

in Negócios, por Rui Neves, 26-01-2021

Em setembro de 2019, o grupo inglês Ineos Automotive anunciava que a produção do seu novo todo o terreno Grenadier seria feita a meias entre Portugal e o País de Gales, com Estarreja a receber um investimento de 300 milhões de euros e a criação de 500 postos de trabalho.

A unidade de Estarreja ficaria responsável pela carroçaria, pelo chassis e pela pintura – com a Ineos a admitir que poderia no futuro vir também a produzir veículos -, com a montagem final a ser feita na fábrica de Bridgend.

Há precisamente um ano, no dia 22 de janeiro de 2020, o grupo controlado por Jim Ratcliffe, que, segundo a Forbes, é o quinto homem mais rico do Reino Unido – com uma fortuna avaliada em 17,8 mil milhões de dólares (14,6 mil milhões de euros) – assinava um protocolo com a Câmara de Estarreja para a construção de uma fábrica de automóveis todo-o-terreno no Eco Parque Empresarial local.

Foi então avançado que as obras deveriam começar três meses depois, em abril, com a produção das primeiras unidades previstas para o primeiro semestre de 2022.

Na sua capacidade máxima, a fábrica iria produzir cerca de 25 mil SUV por ano.

Entretanto, chegou a pandemia. Face à crise económica provocada pela covid-19, a Ineos desistiu do projeto. A 4 de julho, a Câmara de Estarreja anunciava que o grupo inglês tinha suspendido o investimento neste concelho.

Também Bridgend perdeu este projeto, com a Ineos a abandonar os planos industriais na Inglaterra, concentrando toda a produção na fábrica que comprou à Daimler (Mercedes-Benz) em Hambach, França.

Instalação e duplicação da equipa no central empresarial Candal Park

Entretanto, esta terça-feira, 26 de janeiro, a assessoria de comunicação da Ineos ibérica contactou o Negócios para anunciar que decidiu instalar a sua equipa em Portugal no centro empresarial Candal Park, em Vila Nova de Gaia, onde irá “duplicar a força de trabalho existente, com a criação de mais de 20 novos postos de trabalho”.

Um reforço que visa apoiar “a cadeia de fornecimentos e as operações de aquisições da empresa, no apoio à produção do Grenadier 4×4”, que deverá começar “ainda este ano”.

“O nosso escritório em Portugal foi crucial no estabelecimento da cadeia de abastecimento da Ineos Automotive na Europa e este último investimento é a prova do desempenho excecional da equipa existente”, sublinha Oliver Frille, diretor de compras e SCM do grupo britânico, em comunicado.

“A expansão da equipa permite que a Ineos Automotive continue no caminho certo para iniciar as entregas do Grenadier aos clientes em 2022”, enfatiza o grupo, prometendo que a equipa gaiense deverá “continuar a aumentar nos próximos dois anos”, acompanhando a evolução da produção em Hambach, e “os projetos futuros da Ineos automotive”.



INEOS and Hyundai Motor Company cooperate on driving the Hydrogen Economy Forward

  • Hyundai and INEOS signed a memorandum of understanding to explore together new opportunities in the hydrogen economy
  • Opportunities include production and supply of hydrogen as well as new hydrogen applications, technologies and business models
  • The two companies will also work together to explore the use of the Hyundai fuel cell system in the INEOS Grenadier vehicle

in INEOS / Hyundai Motor Company, 22-11-2020

Hyundai Motor Company and INEOS today announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding to explore new opportunities to accelerate the global hydrogen economy.

Hyundai and INEOS will jointly investigate opportunities for the production and supply of hydrogen as well as the worldwide deployment of hydrogen applications and technologies. Both companies will initially seek to facilitate public and private sector projects focused on the development of a hydrogen value chain in Europe.

The agreement also includes the evaluation of Hyundai’s proprietary fuel cell system for the recently announced INEOS Grenadier 4×4 vehicle. This cooperation represents an important step in INEOS’ efforts to diversify its powertrain options at an early stage.

Hyundai’s proprietary modular fuel cell system, which evaluation vehicles will use, has already proven reliable and effective in the Hyundai NEXO SUV. The world’s first dedicated hydrogen-powered SUV has the longest driving range among hydrogen-powered vehicles in the market. Hyundai is one of leading company in the field of fuel cell technology having started the world’s first mass production of fuel cell electric vehicles in 2013.

© Hyundai Motor Company 2020

“INEOS’ move into the development of a fuel cell electric vehicle and hydrogen ecosystem marks yet another milestone towards sustainable and clean transportation,” said Saehoon Kim, Senior Vice President and Head of Fuel Cell Center at Hyundai Motor Company. “Hyundai believes this will provide an important low-carbon option across a wide range of sectors. We also hope our decades-long expertise in hydrogen fuel cell work in synergy with INEOS’ expertise in field of chemistry to realize the mass production of green hydrogen and fuel cells for the Grenadier.”

Peter Williams Technology Director INEOS, said, “The agreement between INEOS and Hyundai presents both companies with new opportunities to extend a leading role in the clean hydrogen economy. Evaluating new production processes, technology and applications, combined with our existing capabilities puts us in a unique position to meet emerging demand for affordable, low-carbon energy sources and the needs of demanding 4×4 owners in the future.”

INEOS recently launched a new business to develop and build clean hydrogen capacity across Europe in support of the drive towards a zero-carbon future. The company currently produces 300,000 tons of hydrogen a year mainly as a by-product from its chemical manufacturing operations.

Through its subsidiary INOVYN, INEOS is Europe’s largest existing operator of electrolysis, the critical technology that uses renewable energy to produce hydrogen for power generation, transportation and industrial use. Its experience in storage and handling of hydrogen combined with its established know-how in electrolysis technology, puts INEOS in a unique position to drive progress towards a carbon-free future based on hydrogen.

In 2018, Hyundai Motor Group announced its mid-to long-term roadmap, Fuel Cell Vision 2030, to increase annual production of hydrogen fuel cell systems to 700,000 units by 2030.


Escolher as ferramentas certas para gestão da cadeia logística: o caso da INEOS Automotive

Artigo de Joana Carneiro Moreira, consultora de Gestão e Engenharia Industrial no INEGI

in INEGI, 15-10-2020

O avanço das tecnologias de informação tem vindo a permitir às empresas um nível de controlo sob as suas cadeias logísticas (supply chain, em inglês) que antes era inimaginável. Facto que explica, e ao mesmo tempo, impulsiona, a complexa competitividade global com que as empresas se deparam, obrigando-as não só a ter processos eficazes dentro de portas, mas operações sincronizadas com todos os parceiros da cadeia de abastecimento.

Em todas as fases da cadeia logística – desde o planeamento, a obtenção da matéria-prima, produção, inventário, armazenamento, transporte, revenda, até finalmente chegar às mãos do cliente – a comunicação e o fluxo de informação são elementos de grande importância, cujo volume exige ferramentas avançadas de processamento.

Processar esta informação, isto é, transformá-la em algo de valor capaz de contribuir para a definição de estratégias de otimização e eficiência, significa obter uma maior visibilidade, maior controlo dos custos, maior precisão e capacidade de resposta.

Com o sistema de informação certo, os decisores das empresas têm em mãos os dados operacionais em tempo real, permitindo-lhes tomar melhores decisões, bem como agilizar a troca de informação em toda a cadeia.

Adaptar o sistema à realidade da empresa

Reconhecendo a vantagem competitiva que uma boa gestão oferece, a INEOS Automotive recorreu recentemente ao serviço de consultoria de Gestão e Engenharia Industrial do INEGI para apoiar a seleção de sistemas de informação que melhor suportem as necessidades especificas da empresa.

O grupo inglês INEOS foi fundado em 1998 e é atualmente um conglomerado com atividade nas áreas da petroquímica, desporto e, mais recentemente, no setor automóvel. A INEOS Automotive, submarca fundada em 2017, lança-se agora na produção de automóveis todo-o-terreno. Apesar da decisão pendente de uma possível instalação de fabrico, a INEOS está prevista estabelecer um centro de competência na zona do Porto.

Pedro Vasconcelos, responsável pela digitalização da cadeia de logística na INEOS, destaca que “a empresa pretende conceber de raiz os diferentes processos da sua cadeia logística, procurando assim garantir, desde o seu início, uma operação o mais otimizada possível”.

Para os ajudar a atingir este objetivo, os consultores do INEGI, cujas competências em Logística e Supply Chain Management são amplamente reconhecidas, trabalharam em conjunto com a INEOS Automotive para mapear os requisitos técnicos dos processos de cada equipa da cadeia, tendo depois realizado um benchmarking de mercado que permitiu o «casamento» entre as necessidades e as funcionalidades que cada solução oferece, e construído uma shortlist de fornecedores/soluções.

Durante este processo, também foi considerada a integração dos novos sistemas de informação propostos com outros sistemas tecnológicos previamente escolhidos. Esta integração é essencial, não apenas para sistemas relacionados com a cadeia logística, mas também para sistemas de outros departamentos, como o comercial, por exemplo. Igualmente importante à adaptação à realidade operacional, é garantir a compatibilidade e adaptabilidade plug-and-play entre sistemas, para que estes possam ser utilizados na sua capacidade máxima, evitando o uso de outras ferramentas de suporte que não sejam tão robustas.

Como Alcibíades Guedes, especialista em supply chain management e presidente do INEGI, salienta “a nossa experiência permite-nos afirmar que garantir a visibilidade em tempo real e o controlo operacional dos fluxos ao longo da cadeia de logística é de grande importância para minimizar tempos de execução, reduzir stocks, cumprir prazos de entrega, e otimizar da eficiência operacional”.

Em resumo, escolher a tecnologia certa é muitas vezes uma das decisões mais impactantes que uma empresa toma relativamente à sua operação logística. Uma escolha acertada resulta numa eficaz e eficiente recolha e tratamento dos dados, e no acompanhamento em tempo real dos diferentes processos. Já uma escolha errada pode não se adaptar ou crescer com os seus negócios, ou criar um ecossistema tecnológico desarticulado, e suscetível a disfunções.