The King Saud University (KSU) on Sunday announced a $500 million deal with South Korea's Digm Automotive Technology to set up Saudi Arabia's first car manufacturing company. The Saudi university recently made headlines with the Mercedes G-Class-based 'Gazal 1' (pictured above) after announcing that the SUV is heading for production.
The Saudi Press Agency reported that the university's investment arm, Wadi al-Riyadh Technology, will contribute 10 to 15 per cent of the financing for the new venture, with the South Korean firm providing 30 per cent, while the rest will be covered by investors.
“The move comes as part of the university’s efforts to transfer technology and establish a knowledge-based economy,” said KSU President Abdullah Al-Othman after signing the deal with Y.K. Jeon, president of Digm Automotive Technologies.
Al-Othman said the joint-venture's first vehicle will be an economical five-passenger model. “Our aim is to market a low-cost car of high quality priced at between SR35,000 and SR45,000, [US$9,300 to US$12,000]” Al-Othman told reporters.
He added the car will be ready within the next two years and that he hoped to export the country's first automobile to other Gulf states as well as North African countries.
Photo: Gazal 1