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03 June

Western Group of Motoring Writers' PR Driving Day at Castle Combe Circuit, Chippenham (by invitation only)


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An automotive ‘start-up’ or just another upstart?

publication date: May 30, 2017
author/source: Captain Pugwash


The words ‘join the adventure to build an uncompromising 4x4’ would attract attention if they came from a vehicle manufacturer.


When these words come from the world’s third largest chemical company in the form of a full page advertisement in the business section of the Sunday Times, the level of attention may be difficult to judge.

Ineos, formed in 1998 by entrepreneur Jim Ratcliffe, has identified a niche opportunity and should be welcomed. However the motor industry does have a history of dismissing anything that is NIH – not invented here. 

The advertisement seeks to attract ‘seasoned experts from the automotive industry’ to help set up a new automotive business and launch a vehicle to fill a gap in the market, seemingly left by the demise of the Land Rover Defender. Land Rover intends to build a successor to the legendary Defender but when it comes and what it will be like to use and service in remote areas of the world remains to be seen. 

With the recent purchase of GM’s European operations by the PSA Group and many at Ford Europe looking over their shoulders, there should be no shortage of applicants especially from those wishing to escape mind-numbing corporate cultures and those willing to take a risk.

Automotive ‘start-ups’ by non-automotive companies provide a breath of fresh air in an industry that seems inhibited by its legacy. It has taken a Tesla, a Google and other technology companies to shake vehicle manufacturers out of their complacency and belief that only they can solve mobility issues in the future.

An increasing number of new vehicle debuts are at international technology exhibitions rather than the traditional ‘cars on carpets’ motor shows as cars become technology platforms.

But a word of caution to this latest automotive ‘start-up’. Rather than recruiting ‘seasoned experts from the automotive industry’ I would suggest recruiting those with ambition and relevant knowledge. Experts may be so ‘seasoned’ they are considered past their ‘sell by date’ and may come with a closed, rather than open mind.



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