INEOS Automotive buys Kavango Engineering

INEOS Automotive has acquired Botswana-based Kavango Engineering, one of southern Africa’s most respected and established vehicle conversion specialists. The business has been renamed INEOS Kavango.

INEOS Automotive Kavango Safari vehicle1

Ideally located in Maun, northern Botswana, at the gateway to the Okavango Delta, INEOS Kavango’s 5,000m2 premises includes extensive fabrication and assembly facilities. Its highly skilled 70-strong workforce completes around 200 conversions a year. Members of the team that founded Kavango Engineering will remain involved in the business. 

INEOS Kavango will expand its current activities to encompass ground-up conversions and ongoing maintenance of Grenadier Station Wagon and Grenadier Quartermaster pick-ups for a wide range of use cases. These include extensive specialist modifications for the conservation, safari, anti-poaching, veterinary, primary healthcare and film production sectors. To accommodate future business growth, land adjacent to the existing INEOS Kavango site is earmarked for further development that will double the scale of the operation.

INEOS Grenadier Safari Vehicle by INEOS Kavango 2

INEOS Safari Grenadier

As a proof of concept, in late 2022 INEOS Kavango created a Safari Grenadier from a donor production prototype vehicle. Engineering modifications were minimal, centering 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 The original roof has been replaced by a lightweight roll-back canvas top with foldable windscreen and the usual tiered seating has been added to maximise passengers’ views.

“This acquisition will help INEOS Automotive realise the vision of INEOS chairman Sir Jim Ratcliffe for the Grenadier to play a key role in critical conservation and environmental programmes worldwide,” says Lynn Calder, CEO of INEOS Automotive. “Bringing the Kavango team in-house also means it can work closely with our engineering and manufacturing teams to optimise processes to supply conversion-ready vehicles so we can better serve these specialist use cases worldwide.”

Charles van Rensburg, CEO, INEOS Kavango said: “Botswana is recognised as a global leader in conservation, and we will continue to support its work and that of other countries and organisations across Sub Saharan Africa. In addition, there are a broad range of opportunities across other sectors that always need durable, capable off-road vehicles with purpose-built bodies to perform specific roles. Our objective is to sustainably grow the business over the long-term. That means developing a broader portfolio of services, adding further high-skilled jobs and diversifying the local economy to the benefit of the community.”