Saudi Crown Prince launches kingdom's first EV brand

Ceer, a joint venture between PIF and Taiwan’s Foxconn, aims to contribute $8bn to Saudi Arabia's economy

Ceer vehicles are expected to be available by 2025. AFP
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Saudi Arabia, the Arab world’s biggest economy, has launched its first electric vehicle brand “Ceer”, which aims to contribute to the kingdom’s car manufacturing sector.

The launch was announced on Thursday by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is also the chairman of the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund.

A part of PIF’s strategy to diversify Saudi Arabia’s gross domestic product by investing in promising growth industries, Ceer will attract more than $150 million in foreign direct investment and create up to 30,000 direct and indirect jobs, the fund said in a statement.

Ceer vehicles are expected to be available by 2025 and the company is projected to directly contribute $8 billion to Saudi Arabia’s economy by 2034.

Ceer will license component technology from BMW. AP

“Saudi Arabia is not just building a new automotive brand, we are igniting a new industry and an ecosystem that attracts international and local investments, creates job opportunities for local talent, enables the private sector and contributes to increasing Saudi Arabia’s GDP over the next decade as part of PIF’s strategy to drive the economic growth in line with Vision 2030,” said Prince Mohammed, who is also the country's prime minister.

Ceer will also support Saudi Arabia’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions and drive sustainability to address the impact of climate change.

The initiative is in line with the PIF’s strategy to unlock the capabilities of promising sectors locally that can help in the diversification of the economy and support the country in achieving the objectives of Vision 2030.

Shipments of EVs are expected to rise by almost 35 per cent annually this year as governments introduce regulations and incentives to help the industry's growth, US consultancy Gartner said.

About 6.4 million EV units are expected to be sold this year, 1.6 million more than 2021, it said recently.

Cars will account for 95 per cent of total EV sales in 2022, while the remaining will be split between buses, vans and heavy lorries, the statement said.

PIF is making various efforts as part of its commitment to develop 70 per cent of Saudi Arabia’s renewable energy capacity in line with Vision 2030.

Saudi Arabia, Opec’s top oil producer and the world’s biggest crude exporter, has set ambitious targets to fight climate change and cut carbon emissions to overhaul its economy and reduce its reliance on oil.

The country has set a target of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2060.

Ceer will design, manufacture and sell a range of vehicles — including saloons (sedans) and sports utility vehicles — for consumers in Saudi Arabia and the entire Middle East and North Africa region.

The company is a joint venture between PIF and Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry (Foxconn). It will license component technology from German car maker BMW for use in the vehicle development process.

Foxconn will develop the electrical architecture of the vehicles, resulting in a portfolio of products that will lead in the areas of infotainment, connectivity and autonomous driving technologies, the statement said.

Ceer is a joint venture between PIF and Foxconn. AFP

Each vehicle will be designed and manufactured in Saudi Arabia, and tested to the highest global automotive quality control and safety standards, PIF said.

“Foxconn is excited about our partnership with PIF to create a new automotive company that will focus on designing and manufacturing electric vehicles in and for Saudi Arabia,” said Young Liu, chairman of Hon Hai Technology Group.

“We will leverage Foxconn’s technological expertise to support Ceer’s vision of creating a range of iconic electric vehicles that are built around the themes of connectivity, infotainment and autonomy.

“We want to make electric vehicles mainstream, and that is what Ceer is going to achieve in Saudi Arabia and the wider region.”

Updated: November 03, 2022, 6:40 PM