Saudi Arabia to Build Cars for Gulf, North Africa

In June, King Saud University unveiled the country's first locally built car, an all-terrain vehicle called 'Ghazal 1' with plans to manufacture 20,000 units a year.

A Saudi university on Dec. 26 announced a $500 million deal with a South Korean firm to manufacture cars for the Gulf and North African markets, the official SPA news agency reported.

The agreement sees the establishment of a motor-manufacturing enterprise that aims to produce a prototype in two years, it quoted King Saud University (KSU) president Abdullah al-Othman as saying.

He said the university's investment subsidiary, Wadi al-Riyadh Technology, would control 10% of the capital and the unnamed South Korean firm 30%, with the balance offered to private investors.

In June, King Saud University, one of the kingdom's largest, unveiled the country's first locally built car, an all-terrain vehicle called "Ghazal 1" (Gazelle), with plans to manufacture 20,000 units a year.

The vehicle is designed for the desert climate of Gulf countries and was produced "in collaboration with several major companies, including Motorola, Mercedes-Benz and Magna Canada," Arab News quoted Said Darwish, an industrial engineering professor at KSU, as saying at the time.

Saudi Arabia, the world's largest exporter of crude oil, is seeking to develop local industry, particularly by training its own managers and experts, and by technology transfer.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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