04 September 2023
Ineos acquires Botswana-based conversion specialist Kavanga to move the Grenadier into the safari and conservation markets
IN its continued push to take over territories once the preserve of the traditional Defender, Ineos Automotive has acquired one of southern Africa’s most established vehicle conversion specialists, Kavango Engineering, based in Maun, northern Botswana. The business has been renamed Ineos Kavango.
Kavango has previously specialised in converting Toyota 4x4s for safari applications (although Land Rovers also feature on its website) and will now expand its current activities to encompass ground-up conversions of the Grenadier Station Wagon and Quartermaster pick-up for use in the safari, conservation, anti-poaching, veterinary, healthcare and film production sectors. The company will also provide servicing and maintenance for the Grendadiers it has converted.
As a proof of concept, in late 2022 Ineos Kavango created a Safari Grenadier from a donor production prototype vehicle. Engineering modifications are minimal, centring on a slightly raised ride height, and relocating the Station Wagon’s roof-mounted switchgear to the centre console. The original roof has been replaced by a lightweight roll-back canvas top with foldable windscreen, while the usual tiered seating has been added to maximise passengers’ views of the African wildlife and landscape.
Ineos plans to involve Kavango in the design and engineering of its future products, with the aim of making it easier to convert Grenadiers for specialist use and roles that the Defender would have undertaken in the past.
Another of the aims of the Kavango acquisition is apparently to help realise the vision of Ineos chairman Sir Jim Ratcliffe, which is ‘for the Grenadier to play a key role in critical conservation and environmental programmes worldwide’. This aspiration is an echo of the work that Series Land Rovers and Defenders have been undertaking for many decades, both in Africa and around the world.
Land Rover has long been synonymous with wildlife conservation, community development, and education – particularly across the African continent. Its activities have included a famous partnership with the Born Free charity to support vital fieldwork as part of wild animal welfare initiatives, as well as with Tusk, whose projects protect endangered species and empower local communities. Other charitable organisations such as the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have traditionally relied on Land Rovers to reach remote communities with rudimentary roads to carry out vital aid work.
Assistance hasn’t been restricted to Africa, of course – Land Rover has helped to improve the lives of millions of vulnerable people and endangered species worldwide thanks to the supreme capability and durability of its vehicles.