Sir Jim Ratcliffe may abandon his plan to build a new off-road vehicle in the UK, ending the dream of a new British car manufacturing business before it begins.
His company, Ineos Automotive, is in talks with Daimler about buying its car plant in Hambach, France, to make the Grenadier.
Sir Jim has previously spoken of his desire to make the new car – which has been billed as the spiritual successor to the original Land Rover Defender and was unveiled last week – in the UK.
In September Ineos – which has put almost £1bn into developing the Grenadier – unveiled plans to build a factory to produce the vehicle in Bridgend, south Wales that would eventually employ about 500 people.
Work with the Welsh government had already begun on clearing the site in preparation for construction.
Similar activity had begun at a sub-assembly