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Saudi’s Ceer spends $96m on plot for electric car factory

Ceer Ceer
Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund launched Ceer to boost the kingdom’s automotive manufacturing sector
  • First Ceer EVs are scheduled to be available in 2025
  • Riyadh is betting big on EVs to diversify and drive sustainability
  • Electric car manufacturing facilities are also being built in UAE

Ceer, Saudi Arabia’s first electric vehicle brand, has spent nearly $96 million on an industrial plot at King Abdullah Economic City. 

In a stock market filing on Saudi’s Tadawul, developer Emaar Economic City said a land sale deal had been signed and KAEC’s Industrial Valley would host a “specialised factory” to manufacture electric vehicles.

Ceer was launched earlier this month by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s prime minister and chairman of its Public Investment Fund (PIF), to boost the kingdom’s automotive sector. 

The company also aims to contribute to Saudi Arabia’s efforts towards emissions reduction to address the impact of climate change.

Ceer will design, manufacture and sell a range of vehicles for consumers in Saudi Arabia and the wider Mena region, including sedans and sports utility vehicles. The first vehicles are scheduled to be available in 2025.

James DeLuca, Ceer’s CEO, said: “We have found a place that meets all our needs. KAEC will become our manufacturing hub as we work towards creating the first electric vehicle brand for Saudi Arabia and the wider region and, in doing so, contribute in a meaningful way to Saudi Vision 2030.”

The PIF said Ceer would attract over $150 million of foreign direct investment and create up to 30,000 direct and indirect jobs. 

The car maker is projected to contribute $8 billion to Saudi GDP by 2034, according to the sovereign wealth fund.

The company, which is a joint venture between the PIF and Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (trading as Foxconn), will licence component technology from BMW to use in vehicle development. 

Foxconn will develop the electrical architecture of the vehicles and the cars will be designed and built in Saudi Arabia.

The kingdom is betting big on electric vehicles. US-based EV maker Lucid Group announced last month that it would be opening its first showroom in the Middle East, located in Riyadh.

Earlier this year Lucid unveiled plans for a full production factory at KAEC. The facility will initially assemble Lucid Air vehicles whose components are pre-manufactured in Arizona but, over time, will produce complete vehicles. 

Lucid expects to manufacture up to 155,000 vehicles a year at the KAEC facility and aims to create 4,500 jobs. The cars will initially be slated for the Saudi Arabian market but they will also export to other global markets. 

Elsewhere in the Gulf, Abu Dhabi is to host its first EV facility, which will have an annual capacity of up to 10,000 units for the assembly of semi-knocked-down (partly assembled) electric vehicles. 

Chinese EV car maker NWTN said on Monday that construction on the Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi facility will be completed by the end of 2022.

M Glory Holding Group and Dubai Industrial City have also announced the opening of a 45,000 sq ft factory to house a temporary assembly line. It has a maximum production capacity of 10,000 electric cars per year.

Lightyear, the Dutch startup that launched the world’s first long-range production-ready solar electric vehicle, has also picked the UAE for its first overseas expansion.

The company said it would open testing facilities and a sales office at the Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation Park, the first such facility outside the Netherlands.