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Thu 17 Jun 2010 07:55 AM

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First Saudi car maker seeks business partner

King Saud University sees the Ghazal 1 available in the Gulf market in three years.

First Saudi car maker seeks business partner
SAUDI CAR: Ghazal 1 has been designed specifically for the Gulf climate.

The makers of Saudi Arabia’s first car have begun contacting businesses across the kingdom to enter into a partnership to begin production of the Ghazal 1 vehicle, it has been reported.

Engineers at King Saud University (KSU) built the SUV, which was designed specifically for the Gulf climate, over two years.

The university aims to produce 20,000 of the cars over the next three years at a cost of SR1.8 billion, following its launch by King Abdullah on Monday, the Saudi Gazette reports.

Ali Al-Ghamdi, undersecretary for Higher Studies and Scientific Research, told the paper the university would maintain ownership of “a percentage of the product”.

“We have obtained the patent for the car, but the university is an educational environment for the transfer knowledge and not a production line,” he said.

Al-Ghamdi said initial studies suggested that Ghazal 1, named after a desert deer, would be 20 percent cheaper than similar models.

According to the paper, the car, which is a Mercedes-Benz G class-based SUV, was first exhibited at the 80th Geneva International Motor Show in Switzerland in March.

Two Italian automotive firms helped in the design and manufacture of the vehicle, the paper reports.

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Amir 10 years ago

Automotive industry creates jobs and helps GCC countries to diversify. Unfortunately, up to now there has not been a serious desire in the GCC countries to start assembling/manufacturing passenger and utility vehicles. Mostly, the inroads to the automotive business have been investing in car manufacturers throughout the world, mainly in Europe, by buying stakes in these brand name cars. The UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait as far as I know have made substantial investments in the European car industry including Ferrari (by Abu Dhabi), McLaren (by Bahrain), etc. While I think that these could be good investments, at the same time I do believe that if the mentioned investments were made locally for building a car manufacturing industry, all the countries of the region would have gained a lot more and the future outlook for employment, innovation, use of new technology, diversification, etc could have been much brighter. By bringing one brand of car for local manufacturing or starting a local brand would bring hundreds of part manufacturers with them to the GCC countries. After that, we could all benefit from design power-houses which could also educate and use local talents in automotive design and modeling. Lots of good stuff.

i-FUN (Intelligent Friends in the University Network) 10 years ago

it is good news that KSA at last gone into manfuacturing cars more than distribution that has been the forte of automotive industry. This has deep implications for operations management and logistics. I congratulate the team at KSU which haS translated the concept into a good looking desert SUV MODEL..

Jalal 10 years ago

Sound fantastic - I will look out for it when I am there next month - who knows - I might just end up buying one! (provided I can get a nice silver one) :)

Jock McTavish 10 years ago

"Two Italian automotive firms helped in the design and manufacture of the vehicle, the paper reports. " Really? Who? - Jaseppi's Pizza and the Italian Army reserves ? My wheelie bin would look like that if it had 4 wheels on it, its ugly.

Afzal Ismail 10 years ago

A Local Assembly line is not a viable project. The development of the Auto Industry requires extensive on-going R & D. A Short term project will not sustain the long term needs. Marketing of the Patented products will be the best commercial approach. Build on the R & D and register and market the patents.

Kipp 10 years ago

Hmmm, it has a roof like a dromedary - she ain't very purdy is she!

Observer 10 years ago

You got to start somewhere and this is a good start .. Well Done Saudi and keep it going. I say to all critics .. If you don’t like it then don’t buy it ..Simple as that ;)