The Land Rover rival being built in France by the billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe may be delayed by up to six months amid difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic, a UK media report said.

Ineos, the chemicals company founded by Ratcliffe, had planned to deliver the first of the new Grenadier vehicles in early 2022 but was now considering a new launch date around September 2022, according to the Guardian.

The 4×4 is modelled on the classic Land Rover Defender.

Ineos Automotive told the paper the company was "on track" with the Grenadier but "still talking about timelines" because of difficulties sourcing some parts during the pandemic.

The spokesperson said: "Like many automotive manufacturers, we are continually assessing the ongoing impact of these unprecedented times and will share any updates in due course. In the meantime, we don't comment on speculation or rumour."

A Guardian source said the company was aiming for pre-production of the first testing models of the Grenadier in autumn 2021, followed by a market launch that could come in autumn 2022.

Ineos is building the Grenadier at the former Daimler Smart plant in Hambach, eastern France. Ratcliffe, a vocal proponent of the UK leaving the EU who is resident in Monaco for tax purposes, had previously planned to "retain the Britishness" and build the car in Bridgend, south Wales.

However, Ineos then snapped up the Hambach factory when Daimler put it up for sale. The company had previously said: "Manufacturing at Hambach ensures that Ineos remains on track to meet its plans to deliver the Grenadier to customers in early 2022."

The Grenadier will be available at first in petrol and diesel variants, using BMW engines, with plans for a hydrogen fuel cell version in collaboration with Hyundai, the Guardian noted.