Will Ineos’ Grenadier dethrone Toyota’s Landcruiser from tourism industry in Tanzania?
Grenadier, the new iconic off-road vehicle, has landed in Tanzania courtesy of CMC Motors, but whether it will replace the legendary Land cruiser in the tourism industry is something yet to be seen.
Built by Ineos, the Grenadier looks exactly like the tried, tested and trusted Landrover 110 Defender, which was discontinued in 2016.
So far the Grenadier has been spotted in Tanga, Iringa and Arusha. It is still now clear how many such vehicles have been imported into the country so far, but they are here and motor reviewers who once took them on test runs in various African terrains have been singing their praises.
While the Landrover can still be seen cruising on most of Tanzania’s rural precincts where roads happen to be in pathetic conditions, it is Toyota’s Land Cruiser 70 Series model that maintains the upper hand in the country’s tourism sector.
Previously, the British-made Landrover used to be the ultimate machine in East Africa’s tourism and state motorcades, having replaced the Germany-built Volkswagen Combi.
The VW Combi was a microbus with rear mounted engine, which used to transport tourists to National Parks and Game Reserves in the late sixties.
The small buses in fact inspired the current Nissan Caravans, Isuzu Comos and Toyota Hiaces.
However, despite the fact that the VW Combis were quite capable off roaders, the industry demanded more rugged beasts with serious four-wheel drive vehicles, and this is when the Landrovers cruised in.
But there was also the colonialism factor, Tanzania during its Tanganyika era, was ruled by Germany which means Deutsche vehicles such as Volkswagen ruled the road and when the British took over, they brought along their Landrovers and Leylands.
Now in the modern free market era, most operators in the travel industry choose what is suitable for them.
And sure enough, for the last 25 years, the Landcruiser remained a de facto vehicle for wild adventures after Landrover 110 Defender called it quits eight years ago.
Now the Grenadier, sporting an uncanny Land Rover façade is entering the scene, essentially threatening Toyota’s dominance in the off-road segment.
Though the Grenadier is a British vehicle, it offers the best of both colonial worlds because it is fitted with a Germany-made BMW engine under the hood. History may soon repeat itself.